Beyond Charitable Imperialism: Intersections of Third Cinema, Music, and Social Change in (Post-) Conflict Democratic Republic of the Congo
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CitationNdaliko, Cherie. 2012. Beyond Charitable Imperialism: Intersections of Third Cinema, Music, and Social Change in (Post-) Conflict Democratic Republic of the Congo. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University.
AbstractBeyond Charitable Imperialism investigates the role of film, digital media, and music in mediating social and political change in conflict regions with specific attention to the aesthetic choices, ethical implications, and lived consequences of audio-visual production in and about Congo. This study intervenes in the discourse on activist African cinema through a bi-directional investigation of (1) increasingly prominent instances of aesthetic and ideological practices in Congolese film that are emerging as central to larger projects of social transformation, and (2) the extent to which humanitarian narratives depicting present-day Congo obscure or expose the ongoing, neo-colonial power struggle between Congo and the West. My research includes critical analyses of temporality, memory, and language in audio-visual representations of Congo, as well as extensive field research investigating embodied instances of the 'film act.' In this context I advocate a historically informed reading of the correlation between current cinema practices and contemporary history based on the evolutionary relationship between audio-visual media, politics, and identity. Drawing on frameworks of militant Third Cinema this study interrogates the role of media in the creation and dissemination of 'Truth' and thereby draws pointed attention to global consequences that form the basis of what I call charitable imperialism. With methodological inspiration across disciplinary lines from scholars including Frantz Fanon, Teshome Gabriel, and Stuart Hall, I offer an anatomy of the particular ways in which film can emerge as a real means of social transformation in the face of conflict and mental colonization. Central to this inquiry is the history of resistance embedded in Congolese musical practices. I suggest that, fortified by intersections with visual technology, the elevated cultural capital of song as a vehicle of social mobilization is reconstituting both music and visual media and increasingly allowing Congolese voices to participate in global dialogues on their own terms. Ultimately I conclude that mediated agency effectively challenges charitable imperialism and repositions Congolese subjects as viable agents of sustainable social transformation.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:10288812
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