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Fela and His Wives: The Import of a Postcolonial Masculinity

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Derek Stanovsky Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Director of Internet Studies, Interdisciplinary Studies Program (Creator)
Institution
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: http://www.library.appstate.edu/

Abstract: This paper explores the possibility that the production and consumption of Fela as a radical, third-world cultural and political figure is coupled with his presentation as radically polygynous and misogynist in ways that allow him to be fit into the existing discourses of race and gender in the West by both mainstream and left audiences. It suggests that Fela's fame in the West is not in spite of his polygyny and misogyny, but at least in part because of them. These elements allow him to be easily assimilated into the pre-existing script of Western expectations for Black African men, and additionally provides an implicit contrast that enables progressive (male) Western audiences to perceive themselves as both non-sexist and non-racist. It begins by examining the thoroughly postcolonial context out of which Fela emerges and into which he is received. Then, drawing on recent work by Judith Butler on gender as performative citation and iteration, it discusses the implications of this theory for views of race and masculinity in postcolonial contexts and apply it to the case of Fela and his wives. The aim is to illuminate both the cultural politics surrounding Fela's death, as well as explore the importance of Butler's work for postcolonial theory.

Additional Information

Publication
Stanovsky, D. (1998) "Fela and His Wives: The Import of a Postcolonial Masculinity." Jouvert: A Journal of Postcolonial Studies, vol. 2, no. 1, July 1998. [Republished in Montreal Serai, vol. 14, no. 1, Winter 2001.] Published by North Carolina State University, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Version of record available open access from http://english.chass.ncsu.edu/jouvert/ Editors released reprint rights to authors.
Language: English
Date: 1998
Keywords
Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Postcolonial masculinity, Judith Butler