African Print Cultures: Newspapers and their Publics in Modern Africa, edited by Derek R. Peterson, Emma Hunter and Stephanie Newell (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2016).
This edited collection grows out of a long-running collaboration–called the ‘African Print Culture Network’–involving scholars based in the United Kingdom, the United States, and in various African universities.
The book claims African newspapers as subjects of historical and literary study. Newspapers were not only vehicles for anticolonial nationalism. They were also incubators of literary experimentation and networks by which new solidarities came into being. By focusing on the creative work that African editors and contributors did, this volume brings an infrastructure of African public culture into view.
The first of four thematic sections, “African Newspaper Networks,” considers the work that newspaper editors did to relate events within their locality to happenings in far-off places. This work of correlation and juxtaposition made it possible for distant people to see themselves as fellow travellers. “Experiments with Genre” explores how newspapers nurtured the development of new literary genres, such as poetry, realist fiction, photoplays, and travel writing in African languages and in English. “Newspapers and Their Publics” looks at the ways in which African newspapers fostered the creation of new kinds of communities and served as networks for public interaction, political and otherwise. The final section, “Afterlives, ” is about the longue durée of history that newspapers helped to structure, and how, throughout the twentieth century, print allowed contributors to view their writing as material meant for posterity.
Contributors: Leslie James, David Pratten, Rebecca Jones, Wale Adebanwi, Karin Barber, Kelly Askew, Uta Reuster-Jahn, Olubukola A. Gbadegesin, Oluwatoyin Babtunde Oduntan, Duncan Omanga, Hlonipha Mokoena, Emma Hunter, Stephanie Newell, and Derek R. Peterson.