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Introduction: Re-Imagining Cities in Africa


Year published: 2018
Categories: Journal Article

Author / Authors:

  • Till Förster
  • Fiona Siegenthaler


Re-Imagining African Cities. The Arts and Urban Politics (Guest editors: Fiona Siegenthaler and Till Förster)

The introduction presents the key concepts and core arguments of this special issue Re-Imagining African Cities: The Arts and Urban Politics that results from a workshop hosted by the Visual Culture Research Group at the Department of Anthropology, University of Basel, in 2016. Summarising and presenting the essays, it offers insights into how urban imagination and the physical cities interrelate in urban aesthetic practices. How do artists articulate their experiences and observations of the city? What position and relevance do the material city, the city image and the urban imagination have in the practice of these visual and performing artists? How does their work relate to the urban as a social space on the one hand and as an imagined entity on the other? The African and diasporic cities of Kinshasa, Paris, Cape Town, Lagos, Bamenda, Freetown, Johannesburg and Kampala are both the sites and research subjects of the authors and of the artists they present. The focus on visual and performative arts provides the vehicle and the critical means of observing, articulating and representing these entanglements of the material cities, their images and their societal as well as artistic imagination.

Social Dynamics, 44:3, 395-404, DOI: 10.1080/02533952.2018.1512938


  • Journal Article