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Africa in Stereo: Modernism, Music and Pan-African Solidarity


Africa in Stereo analyzes how Africans have engaged with African American music and its representations in the long twentieth century (1890-2011) to offer a new cultural history attesting to pan-Africanism's ongoing and open theoretical potential. Tsitsi Jaji argues that African American popular music appealed to continental Africans as a unit of cultural prestige, a site of pleasure, and most importantly, an expressive form already encoded with strategies of creative resistance to racial hegemony. Ghana, Senegal and South Africa are considered as three distinctive sites where longstanding pan-African political and cultural affiliations gave expression to transnational black solidarity. The book shows how such transnational ties fostered what Jaji terms "stereomodernism." Attending to the specificity of various media through which music was transmitted and interpreted-poetry, novels, films, recordings, festivals, live performances and websites- stereomodernism accounts for the role of cultural practice in the emergence of solidarity, tapping music's capacity to refresh our understanding of twentieth-century black transnational ties.

"Meticulously researched, historically and politically exigent, and adventurous in its archival reach, Africa in Stereo is a path-breaking book that pulsates to the beat of literary, visual, sonic and cultural studies. Tsitsi Jaji has built a bold new sound system for diaspora studies that challenges us to listen closely to the crosscurrents of African aesthetic technologies that forge and inform our modern world." --Daphne Brooks, author of Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850-1910

"This book is unique in its attentiveness to the intricacies, significances and pleasures of listening, notation and reading. It recasts - with great subtlety and eloquence - our understanding o fthe sonic, visual, and literary practices used by Africans in the elaboration and pursuit of pan-Africanism at home and abroad." --Bhekizizwe Peterson, author of Monarchs, Missionaries, and African Intellectuals