Tag Archives: discussion

Workshop “Popular Culture in Africa- and Diaspora-related Research”

Invitation to join us for a



Popular Culture in Africa- and Diaspora-related research:

Politics and Positionalities


24 May, 2017

1:00 – 6:00 pm


Seminarraum 4,

Department of African Studies

University of Vienna Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 5.1.

1090 Vienna


Has scholarly thinking about popular culture in Africa changed in the discipline of African Studies since Karin Barber (“ Popular Arts In Africa,” 1987) published her highly influential article on popular arts in Africa 30 years ago? If so, how might we tie these changes to new social and cultural ways of perceiving and narrating societies in Africa in the last twenty years or so? What, if anything, does the rise of the new media have to do with the way popular culture is produced, disseminated and consumed?

On the basis of some selected texts dealing with the issues raised above and drawing from insights from current research projects by Onookome Okome, who is visiting the Department of African Studies, and members of the research project “Popular Culture in Translocal Spaces” at the same department, this workshop revisits key issues raised in Barber’s essay as entry points into questions such as:

Is the category of popular culture still useful in Africa- and diaspora-related research and in what sense?

How does it relate to other categories such as popular arts or, more recently, social media?

How can the relationship of popular culture and politics be thought through?

How might we think through the politics of popular culture and the representations of politics in the age of the new media?

What are the positions and what are the methods from which we can approach research on popular culture?


All are welcome to join the discussion – especially also interested students and younger scholars!


Preliminary Schedule:

1:00 – 1:30 pm:                 Introduction of the aims and format of the workshop,  introduction of all participants

1:30 – 3:30 pm:                 Discussion of concepts and approaches on the basis of selected texts

3:30 – 4:00 pm:                 Coffee break

4:00 – 6:00 pm:                 Panel with short inputs and time for discussion, with contributions by


  • Onookome Okome (University of Alberta) on „Nollywood“
  • Birgit Englert (University of Vienna) on film translation into Swahili in Tanzania
  • Katharina Fritsch (University of Vienna) on popular culture in the context of ‘Franco-Comorian diaspora’ in Marseille
  • Hanna Stepanik (University of Vienna) on ‘Cape Verdean’ popular cultural practices and ‘diaspora’ in Lisbon


Key texts as input for discussion:

Englert, Birgit. 2008. Popular Music and Politics in Africa – Some Introductory Reflections. In: Englert, Birgit (ed.). Popular Music and Politics in Africa. Special Issue of Stichproben. Vienna Journal of African Studies, Nr. 14, 1-15.

Newell, Stephanie; Okome, Onookome. 2014. Introduction. Popular Culture in Africa: The Episteme of the Everyday. In: Newell, Stephanie; Okome, Onookome (eds.) Popular Culture in Africa: The Episteme of the Everyday. New York / London: Routledge, 1-23.

Willems, Wendy; Mano, Winston. 2017. Decolonizing and Provincializing Audience and Internet Studies. Contextual Approaches from African Vantage Points. In: Willems, Wendy; Mano, Winston (eds.). Everyday Media Culture in Africa. Audiences and Users. New York / London: Routledge, 1-26.

Further suggested reading:

Barber, Karin. 1987. Popular Arts in Africa. African Studies Review 30(3): 1-78.


Please register until 22 May 2017 by sending an email to birgit.englert@univie.ac.at.

The texts will then be sent to you via email.


Organised by Birgit Englert, Katharina Fritsch and Hanna Stepanik of the research project „Popular Culture in Translocal Spaces“


funded by the Austrian Science Foundation (FWF) together with Prof. Onookome Okome, (University of Alberta).

In cooperation with the Department of African Studies, University of Vienna


Talk: Postcolonial and intersectional im-/mobilities – Economic and artistic activities among migrants from the Comoros in Marseille

In the context of the series “Afrika Kolloquium” at the Department of African Studies at the University of Vienna, the following talk will take place. You are all cordially invited to attend!

Postcolonial and intersectional im-/mobilities – Economic and artistic activities among migrants from the Comoros in Marseille

Ahmad Abdoul-Malik (Aix Marseille University) and Katharina Fritsch (University of Vienna)

Monday, 30th of November, 2015, 5 p.m.

Seminar room 1, Department of African Studies, UniCampus AAKH, Hof 5, Spitalgasse 2, 1090 Vienna

This talk presents first analyses of two different PhD projects, which share as much difference as well as points of encounter.

Ahmad Abdoul-Malik analyzes informalized trading activities among migrant women from the Comoros in Marseille. Situating these activities within a transnational space, he argues that the respective economic activities have been shaped by what Hirai (2009) describes as a ‘market of nostalgia’. Further, he analyzes these transnational activities as forms of resistance towards gendered power relations, located in the women’s family spaces in France as well as on the Comoros.

Katharina Fritsch focuses on the popular culture practice of Twarab, a cultural market embedded within socio-cultural, political and economic practices of Franco-Comorian communities in Marseille. She argues that the place of Twarab in Marseille has been shaped by a biopolitics of communitarization. It is then against the backdrop of such a biopolitics that she will analyze Twarab events and artists’ positionalities, letting appear the intrinsic relation of ethnicity/’race’, class and gender, with processes of im-/mobilization.

Ahmad Abdoul-Malik is a PhD student at Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, LEST UMR 7317, 13626, Aix en Provence, France.

Katharina Fritsch is a  PhD student at the Department of Political Science, and researcher in the FWF-funded research project ‘Popular culture in translocal spaces’ at the Department of African Studies, University of Vienna.

The talk is organized in cooperation with the research project ‘Popular Culture in Translocal Spaces’ which runs at the Department of African Studies, University of Vienna from 2014-2018.

WORKSHOP “Mobilität erforschen – mobil forschen: Methoden – Positionierungen – Repräsentationen”

Die Forschungsplattform

„Mobile Kulturen und Gesellschaften. Interdisziplinäre Studien zu transnationalen Formationen“

 lädt herzlich ein zum

WORKSHOP „Mobilität erforschen – mobil forschen: Methoden – Positionierungen – Repräsentationen“

 am 5. Mai 2015 von 13-18 Uhr

 im Alois Wagner Saal, C3 – Centrum für Internationale Entwicklung

Sensengasse 3, 1090 Wien

Ziel des Workshops ist der Austausch und die Diskussion über Forschungsmethoden im Themenfeld Mobilität sowie über Fragen der Positionierung als Forschende in mobilen Kontexten. Diese Fragen werden anhand von Inputs aus geistes- und sozialwissenschaftlichen Perspektiven reflektiert. Daher werden insbesondere auch Herausforderungen des transdisziplinären Forschens zu mobilen Subjekten und Objekten im Mittelpunkt der Debatten dieses Workshops stehen, der neben Inputs und Diskussion im Plenum auch Gespräche in Kleingruppen beinhalten wird.

Neben den an der Forschungsplattform (FoPla) beteiligten Forschenden sind alle, die sich für diese Fragen interessieren, insbesondere auch Studierende, herzlich willkommen.

Nach Möglichkeit bitte Anmeldung per Email an mobilecultures@univie.ac.at bis zum 1. Mai 2015. Spontane Teilnahme ist auch möglich, die Voranmeldung würde uns jedoch die Organisation erleichtern.

Organisation: Petra Dannecker, Birgit Englert, Katharina Fritsch


13:00 – 13:15

Begrüßung, Vorstellung des Ablaufs und der Vortragenden

13:15 – 14:45

Input mit anschließender Diskussion: Nadine Sieveking, Centre for Area Studies und Institute of African Studies an der Universität Leipzig

Nadine Sieveking forscht in den Themenfeldern Performance, Embodiment und Gender im Kontext von Transnationalisierung und Migration. http://www.uni-leipzig.de/~cas/research/senior-researchers/nadine-sieveking/

14:45 – 15:15


15:15 – 15:45

Input: Katharina Fritsch und Birgit Englert, Institut für Afrikawissenschaften, Universität Wien

An der Forschungsplattform beteiligtes Teilprojekt: „Populärkultur in translokalen Räumen. Prozesse von Diasporisierung bei Komorianer_innen in Marseille und Kapverdianer_innen in Lissabon“ http://mobilecultures.univie.ac.at/projekte/populaerkultur-in-translokalen-raeumen/

15:45 – 16:15

Input: Marianne Windsperger, Franz M. Eybl, Annegret Pelz, Institut für Germanistik, Universität Wien

An der Forschungsplattform beteiligtes Teilprojekt: „Constituting Global Convivence. Album – Collection Book – Portable Archive“ http://mobilecultures.univie.ac.at/projekte/constituting-global-convivence/

16:15 – 17:00

Diskussion in interdisziplinär zusammengesetzten Kleingruppen

17:00 – 17:15


17:15 – 18:00

Präsentation der Diskussionsergebnisse im Plenum und abschließende Diskussion

Presentation of POCUTRAS at the initial workshop of “Mobile Cultures and Societies”

On November 13, Birgit presented the research project at the initial workshop by the research platform “Mobile Cultures and Societies. Interdisciplinary Studies on transnational formations”.

For more information on the platform and its events, please have a look at: