Course Spotlight: African 405 – Nollywood

Course Description

Nollywood is the name that Nigerian filmmakers and audiences have adopted for a relatively new film industry, which began in the early 1990s with the emergence of “video films”—that is, feature-length films shot on video and sold in the market for home viewing. This innovation allowed for an explosion of commercial filmmaking, and Nollywood has quickly become the major audio-visual media industry of the African continent. In this course, we will watch a variety of Nollywood films and learn about the aesthetic strategies they tend to feature, how the industry has changed over time, what conditions contributed to its emergence and growth, and what audiences, governments, scholars, and other observers have had to say about it. Students will also be introduced to methods of studying film, as both a form and an industry. A combination of film screenings, readings, lectures, student presentations, and small and large essay projects will offer students the opportunity develops skills for critically thinking about the relationship between motion pictures and society.

Enrollment Details

African 405: Nollywood
(Topics in African Cultural Studies)
Open to undergraduate and graduate students
Tuesdays and Thursdays, 2:30-3:45pm, Van Hise 475


Living in Bondage (1992)
Violated (1996)
Owo Blow (1996)
Saworoide (1999)
Igodo: Land of the Living Dead (1999)
Ashes to Ashes (2001)
Apoti Eri (2001)
Aki na Ukwa (2003)
Osuofia in London (2003)
Blood Sister (2003)
The Master (2004)
Jennifa (2008)
This is Nollywood (2009)
The Figurine (2009)
Ijé: The Journey (2010)

About the Instructor

Matthew H. Brown is Assistant Professor of African Cultural Studies. His research covers screen media in Africa—including colonial cinema, celluloid cinema, television, and video film—as well as literature, popular music, and critical cultural theory. He teaches courses on African oral traditions, literature, film, and melodrama. He is currently working on a book about the changing relationships between screens and the spectators they have addressed during the last one hundred years of motion picture exhibition and production in Nigeria.