Modernization as Spectacle in Africa
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For postcolonial Africa, modernization was seen as a necessary outcome of the struggle for independence and as crucial to the success of its newly established states. Since then, the rhetoric of modernization has pervaded policy, culture, and development, lending a kind of political theatricality to nationalist framings of modernization and Africans’ perceptions of their place in the global economy. These 15 essays address governance, production, and social life; the role of media; and the discourse surrounding large-scale development projects, revealing modernization's deep effects on the expressive culture of Africa.
maize, but in the long term it worked to fix the price of “native maize” at half the price that settler-planters received (Anderson and Throup 1985, 336–38). The BEKE film, however, attempted to portray the ordinance and government “native marketing” schemes in a favorable light. The film opened with shots of maize being sold at Karatina Market near Mount Kenya to “wayside buyers, and the cheating that takes place.” The film then moved to shots of an “angry crowd,” upset by the market cheats.
continent, Bloom argues that the mass education agenda as embodied by English- language learning is rooted in British norms of civility and projective display. In other words, the elocutionary emphasis of spoken word recording and relay served as an index to a developmental ethic of class and cultural difference. Its implications, Bloom surmises, serve as a basis for postcolonial self-government that relies on an emergent transnational spatial restructuring of the nation-state following from
instruction for participation in the international cash economy. Cooperatives, he believed, would help modernize “backward” Africa while providing urgent debt relief for the small landholder or tenant farmer. Under Webb’s short administration and afterward, the Colonial Office took its philosophy on the development value of cooperation from former Punjab civil servant Claude Francis Strickland, the recognized expert on the subject of “Native cooperation.” In a series of research trips to
Southern Rhodesia could have looked south across the Limpopo as per Haw key’s suggestion. However, it made more sense, politically and for practical rea- Is Propaganda Modernity? | 119 sons, to look north over the Zambezi. Policymakers in Lusaka had already reached out to their counterparts in Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland to suggest a regional approach to the endeavor. Thus, the Northern Rhodesian information officer had written reassuringly to his southern counterpart praising the
Cora Wilson Stewart, who, as superintendent of schools in Rowan County, Kentucky, pioneered this approach for adults as part of the Moonlight Schools of Kentucky (Sticht 2005). In addition to being mentioned in the 1943 Mass Education in African Society report, there are oblique references in the film to elements of the Laubach technique, such as the continual reference to the instructor’s use of students to demonstrate particular sentences. The various illustrations of the film point to