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Cultural Netizenship: Social Media, Popular Culture, and Performance in Nigeria

DATE

Wednesday, November 2

TIME 

6:00 - 7:00 p.m. (Doha)

#IAS_NUQ Virtual Book Talk

Cultural Netizenship: Social Media, Popular Culture, and Performance in Nigeria featuring James Yékú, Assistant Professor of African Digital Humanities at the University of Kansas


How does social media activism in Nigeria intersect with online popular forms—from GIFs to memes to videos—and become shaped by the repressive postcolonial state that propels resistance to dominant articulations of power? 

James Yékú proposes the concept of "cultural netizenship"—internet citizenship and its aesthetico-cultural dimensions—as a way of being on the social web and articulating counter-hegemonic self-presentations through viral popular images. Yékú explores the cultural politics of protest selfies, Nollywood-derived memes and GIFs, hashtags, and political cartoons as visual texts for postcolonial studies, and he examines how digital subjects in Nigeria, a nation with one of the most vibrant digital spheres in Africa, deconstruct state power through performed popular culture on social media. As a rubric for the new digital genres of popular and visual expressions on social media, cultural netizenship indexes the digital everyday through the affordances of the participatory web.

A fascinating look at the intersection of social media and popular culture performance, Cultural Netizenship reveals the logic of remediation that is central to both the internet's remix culture and the generative materialism of African popular arts.

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James Yékú is Assistant Professor of African Digital Humanities in the Department of African and African-American studies at the University of Kansas where he teaches courses on social media and African popular cultures, as well as on the intersections of African cultural productions and digital media. James studies the digital expressions of African cultural forms and writes on digital literary studies, Nollywood, and online visual cultures. He is the author of Cultural Netizenship: Social Media, Popular Culture, and Performance in Nigeria (Indiana University Press), and a book of poetry, Where the Baedeker Leads (Mawenzi House). His current digital projects include Digital Nollywood, which is an Omeka-based collection of vintage film posters from Nigeria. James is a 2022 fellow at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS) in Bochum, Germany.