Københavns Universitet
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Africa Seminar 'The Sound of Memes: Cultural Netizenship and The Intermediality of the Memesphere'

Seminar — Seminar focusing on Nigeria's vibrant digital spheres.


Date & Time:

Room 8B.1.14 South Campus
Karen Blixens Plads 16

Hosted by:
Centre of African Studies


Nigeria has one of the most vibrant digital spheres in Africa in which digital subjects deconstruct state power through performed popular culture. Cultural netizenship, what James Yékú describes elsewhere as the platformization of African popular culture (Yékú 2022), is shaped largely by memes, one of the most immediate and condensed modes of cultural critiques and political commentary on social media. In this seminar, he lingers  on the concept of cultural netizenship, unpacking Nigerian meme culture through the intermedial connections between Old Nollywood images and social media memes. Emphasizing the logic of memeification that structures the relations between filmic and memetic texts and foregrounding the remix and adaptative strategies that inform their sonic and visual interconnections, he analyzes how the rhetorical gestures of memes deconstruct officialdom and consolidate Nollywood’s globalism.  The seminar concludes by focusing on the sound of memes, asking how sonic memes in particular ambivalently summon different kinds of affects. The stakes of this approach are marked by the increasing digital reconfigurations of African popular aesthetics more broadly.

James Yékú teaches in the Department of African and African American Studies at the University of Kansas where he leads various initiatives in African digital humanities. He is the author of Cultural Netizenship: Social Media, Popular Culture, and Performance in Nigeria, and the collection of poems, Where the Baedeker Leads. He is the co-editor of Sòròsóke. An #endsars anthology, which articulates a poetics of resistance. He is currently an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Fellow in the Department of African Literatures and Cultures at Humboldt University of Berlin.