Call for Book Chapter Proposals

Sara Hanaburgh's picture
Call for Papers
September 1, 2019
New York, United States
Subject Fields: 
Film and Film History, African History / Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Cultural History / Studies, Literature

Call for Book Chapters: The History of Sub-Saharan African Literatures on Film

Cinematic adaptations of sub-Saharan African literatures draw from a wide range of genres from West African folktales to Zulu legends, from Hausa popular literature to graphic novels, war narratives or Afro Bubblegum art. The History of Sub-Saharan African Literatures on Film examines how adaptations of African literatures-in their multilingual and multicultural contexts-mirror trends and transitions in the regions's literary and, particularly, cinematic histories. Contributors are invited to propose book chapters that span the many linguistic regions across sub-Saharan Africa and depart from the notion that sub-Saharan African cinematic adaptations are deeply influenced by historical moments and political and economic transitions.

Contributors may wish to highlight certain aspects that are unique to African adaptation, questions with regard to readership and viewership and pose questions, such as: For whom is the book written, the film made? How have authorial approaches, storytelling techniques and media changed over time? Also, African filmmakers' collective support for the making of adaptations opens up the discussion of the symbiotic relationship of African literature and film, probing questions like how do storytellers as writers and as filmmakers deploy their respective narrative techniques, approach narrative units and structures, and how do narrative styles merge or differ with regard to the choice of medium? What do their narrative choices bring to adaptation and tell us about adaptation? Further, if African filmmaking has relied on the discourses and political stance and theoretical positioning in African literature, how has the medium of film articulated those discourses and expanded upon them? Altered them? How much has adaptation played a role in this process? How does this differ from making a film based on an original screenplay? Finally, if we consider adaptation as "réécriture" / rewriting (Tcheuyap 2005), what can our study of multiple rewritings across time and across the sub-Saharan space--as a sort of adaptation archive--contribute to a rewriting or a rethinking of history, of theory, and/or of adaptation studies?

In a particular chapter, the historical, political and/or economic contexts should frame discussions about aesthetic choices in adaptation, what adaptation might bring to politically engaged films or might address the choice itself of what to adapt to the screen and how it is done. Contributing authors might focus on the aspect of storytelling through montage, framing, setting; they may focus on filmmaking as language, on music in adaptations, on spectatorship, on how adaptation approaches have changed in response to or as a result of political and historical situations. 

Possible topics may include, though are not limited to:

- First generation African filmmaking and adaptation, the Algiers Charter (1969) and political and aesthetic aims of African cinema, including the adaptation of myths, folktales, legends, plays, short stories and novels

- Adaptation, revolutions and revolutionary aesthetics and techniques; national identity and politics

- Video production and adaptation, in Nollywood, Kannywood, Ghallywood and in Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Cameroon, Tanzania; popular theatre and market literature adapted for the screen

- Adaptations of war narratives, of child soldier narratives

- Adaptations and African screen media in the 21st century, viewership, modes of viewing, film languages, co-productions, global collaborations, local and international actors, professional and non-professional actors

Intended to be a unique resource to specialists and non-specialists, the collaborative volume will provide a comprehensive and contemporary contribution to African studies, cinema studies, and adaptation studies. Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged.

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract with your name, title and affiliation to the editor, Dr. Sara Hanaburgh at by September 1, 2019. Accepted abstracts will be notified by September 20. Submission of full chapter (5,000-8,000 words) due February 20, 2020. The book is under contract with Bloomsbury as part of a growing series, The History of World Literatures on Film, eds. Gregory Semenza and Robert Hasenfratz.

Contact Info: 

Dr. Sara Hanaburgh

St. John's University

Queens, NY, USA


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