Queer African Cinematic Art and Popular Melodrama

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1155 Observatory Drive Madison, WI 53706, 206 Ingraham Hall
@ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Africa at Noon

Speaker: Lindsey Green-Simms

Time: 12:00 pm- 1:00 pm

Venue: 206 Ingraham Hall

Talk Description

This talk highlights how queer African film articulate forms of resistance that cannot be understood through narrow understandings of resistance as visible, agential, or audible. Instead, it looks at the way queer African films mobilize forms of resistance and refusal – such as loving, touching, dreaming, negotiating, taking flight, or keeping quiet – that are often practiced from a position of vulnerability. By placing detailed close readings of select queer films alongside discussion about censorship, audiences, and the politics of production, consumption, and distribution, this talk explores the way cinema documents the difficulty of queer existence and opens spaces for queer life-building and survival. In particular, it will focus on how representations of queerness in Nigerian video films differ from and are similar to queer films in other parts of the continent.

Lindsey Green-Simms is a Professor and the Literature Department chair at the American University, Washington D.C. Professor Green-Simms’ teaching and research focuses on film and literature from the Global South, with a particular emphasis on African cultural production. Her most recent book, Queer African Cinemas (Duke University Press, 2022), discusses LGBT African art films and popular melodramas in the first decades of the twenty-first century. Green-Simms argues that these films not only record the fear, anxiety, and vulnerability many queer Africans experience; they highlight how queer African cinematic practices contribute to imagining new hopes and possibilities and highlight potentials for queer life-building and survival. Professor Green-Simms’ first book, Postcolonial Automobility: Cars Cultural in West Africa (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), examines how the contradictions of globalization, modernity, and consumer culture are embedded in the commodity of the automobile. Postcolonial Automobility has been awarded the African Literature Association First Book Prize as well as the American Comparative Literature Association Helen Tartar Book Subvention Award.