Call for Panelists: Replaying the Past: African Historical Films, Post-colonialism, and the Visual Impression of History

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Call for Panelists


Replaying the Past:

African Historical Films, Post-colonialism, and the Visual Impression of History

The 5th Annual Lagos Studies Association Conference

Theme: Postcolonial African Cities at 60: Continuities and Discontinuities

June 25-27, 2020
Lagos, Nigeria


African historical films serve as filmic representations of Africa’s past. However, they also seek to re-write the past by contesting “authentic” and dominant historical narratives by mobilizing new, alternative, and transgressive metaphors, visuals, and iconographies. At the community level, historical films serve as agents of socialization and pedagogy—indeed, for some people, they are one of the primary paths through which the past is retraced.  

This panel seeks to revisit some of the most contentious academic and popular debates about historical films, while charting new directions. The dialectics of fact and falsehood, tradition and modernity, and real and unreal, are always in a state of flux in historical films, not only because each generation produces its own kind of history, but also because new technologies and creative imaginations shape how artists and filmmakers represent the past. What is more, the unstable conceptions of leisure, audience perception, government/political patronage, and aesthetic preferences of filmmakers and the audience have shaped investment in historical films, producing significant ambivalences that scholars should be concerned about.

   The panel invites contributions focusing on, but not limited to, the following themes:


  1. The historical film as an agent of socialization and pedagogy
  2. Factuality and creativity in the historical film
  3. The role of anachronism or verisimilitude in the historical film
  4. The African historical film as metaphor of power, agency, and self-fashioning
  5. African filmmakers as artists and interpreters of the past
  6. Historical film and pan-Africanism
  7. Decolonization and historical film
  8. Political patronage and historical film
  9. Improvising the past: Materiality, costuming, and technology


To participate in this panel, send a 250-word abstract and short bio to Folakemi Ogbungbe ( and Lani Akande ( by December 15. Visit the LSA website for additional information about the Conference:


About Panel Conveners:

Folakemi Ogungbe is a doctoral student at the University of Ibadan. Her thesis focuses on African historical films and the politics of representation.


Lani Akande is a Doctoral Candidate at York University. His research interests include the de-Westernization of African cinema approaches.