Through their analysis of the depictions in film and literature of masculinities in colonial, independent and post-independent Africa, the contributors open some key African texts to a more obviously politicized set of meanings.
Collectively, the essays provide space for rethinking current theory on gender and masculinity:
- how only some of the most popular theories in masculinity studies in the West hold true in African contexts;
- how Western masculinities react with indigenous masculinities on the continent;
- how masculinity and femininity in Africa seem to reside more on a continuum of cultural practices than on absolutely opposite planes;
- and how generation often functions as a more potent metaphor than gender.
Lahoucine Ouzgane —
Lahoucine Ouzgane is Associate Professor of English & Film Studies, University of Alberta, Canada.
Men and masculinities in African film & fiction, ed. by Lahoucine Ouzgane. James Currey, 2011. 180p bibl index; ISBN 9781847015211. Reviewed in 2011aug CHOICE.
This provocative volume opens with a look at the common use of impotence as metaphor, focusing on two Cameroonian films--Jean Pierre Bekolo's Quartier Mozart and Jean-Marie Téno's Clando--and ends with an overview of African artists' depictions of gays and lesbians. The essays in between touch on precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial periods, revealing the geographic and cultural breadth of the continent. For example, Tom Odhiambo critiques male sexual anxieties in postcolonial Kenyan popular literature; Patricia Alden looks at a changing male consciousness in the works of Zimbabwean writers such as Charles Mungoshi and Stanley Nyamfukudza; and Tarshia Stanley discusses the men depicted in Ousmane Sembene's great feminist films Faat Kiné and Moolaadé. Other essays consider the insecure men portrayed in the North African works of Nawal El Saadawi and Tahar Ben Jelloun and, from South Africa, Afrikaaner masculinity in Mark Behr's The Smell of Apples. This collection complements African Masculinities (CH, Dec'05, 43-2512), which Ouzgane (Univ. of Alberta) coedited with Robert Morrell.
Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. -- C. Pike, University of Minnesota