1st Workshop

TITLE: African Cultural Production and the Challenges of Digital Technology

Workshop 1 Discussion

In Spring 2012, with support from the Office of the Vice-Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs at Indiana University and the African Studies Program, the NeMLiA Collective convened the first workshop in the series, focusing on the relationships between digital technology, online literary and scholarly publications, and access.

Participants in that workshop included librarian Miriam Conteh-Morgan (Ohio State University), writer and publisher Patrice Nganang (SUNY Stony Brook), blogger and academic Sean Jacobs (New School), and writer-filmmaker Stacy Hardy (Chimurenga, Cape Town). During that workshop, our primary panelists produced short texts in response to a provocation we sent to them, and four other participants—Julie Bobay (IU Library); Marissa Moorman (History); Jason Jackson (IU Folklore and Ethnomusicology); and Premesh Lalu (University of Western Cape, South Africa)—in turn responded to those texts.

Together, we debated and reflected upon the implications of the complex and tangled questions of intellectual property, copyright and piracy arising from the growth of new forms of literary and media production (including literature, film, photography and music) on the African continent.

The one-day, two-session workshop was videotaped, because our larger aim remains to create a database of information—images, texts, hypertexts—on the basis of which subsequent stages of the project will be developed later.

SEMINAR DESCRIPTION

This seminar on the relationships between digital technology, online literary and scholarly publications, and access is the first phase of a larger project on New African Media and Literary Initiatives. The collaborators are African Studies faculty from different disciplines and include Akin Adesokan (Comparative Literature), Beth Buggenhagen (Anthropology), Marion Frank-Wilson (Library Sciences), Maria Grosz-Ngaté (African Studies & Anthropology), and Marissa Moorman (History). The project is a multi-year, multi-disciplinary endeavor that puts African literary pioneers in new media and literary formats in conversation with each other and with academics (some of our collaborators straddle these categories). We propose to debate, think, and push the implications of the complex and tangled questions of intellectual property, copyright and piracy arising from the growth of new forms of literary and media production including literature, film, photography and music, on the African continent.

This seminar, scheduled for Friday, April 6, 2012, will comprise a morning and afternoon session. The invited participants are Patrice Nganang (SUNY Stony Brook), Sean Jacobs (New School), Miriam Conteh-Morgan (Ohio State University), and Stacy Hardy (Chimurenga, South Africa). Each of these participants has composed a text in response to originating questions or “provocation.” Four other participants will respond to these presentations during the morning session. These are Julie Bobay (Library Sciences, IU); Premesh Lalu (History, University of Western Cape, South Africa); Jason Jackson (Folklore & Ethnomusicology, IU); and Marissa Moorman (History, IU). Following these responses, each invited panelist will have 10 minutes to respond to questions raised by the commentators and to the statements of other panelists. In the afternoon, the session will begin with a synopsis of the morning’s discussion, followed by several sets of questions from three graduate students: Steffan Horwitz (African Studies), Samantha Merritt (Informatics), and Adrien Pouille (Comparative Literature). These will in turn invite comments from audience participants before returning to panelists and commentators.

Workshop 1 Discussion

LINKS TO WORKSHOP MEDIA

Opening Comments by Akin Adesokan

Provocation

Responses by Invited Participants

Reactions to Responses

The following workshop videos are available. Though the day was ordered with the Reactions first, followed by the Responses, for a greater undertanding of the seminar it may be helpful to first read the responses (see links above) and then watch the videos in the following order:

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