Dr. Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin will present a paper entitled, ““Africa is Here”: Afropolitan Imagineering, Global Presence and the White Gaze.” on February 15, 2018 at the Harriet Tubman Institute from 2:30 – 4:00.
Branded as “Africa’s first luxury perfume”, the Scent of Africa perfume is a “scented declaration of progress”. Particularly fascinating is the commercial advertisement for the perfume, which I argue to be an “Afropolitan Imagineering” project that is intended to signal Africa’s rise and its new association with global cosmopolitanism. At first glance, the Scent of Africa perfume advertisement seems to point to the ways in which Imagineering projects can reproduce colonial discourses about Africanness. However, in this presentation, I suggest that we complicate the advertisement and examine its subversive potential to decenter whiteness and celebrate Africanness while writing Africa into the world (Mbembe and Nuttall 2004). Despite this subversion, I conclude that African worlding practices should disinherit the familiarity of Eurocentric geographic determinism that is embedded in Afropolitan Imagineering and instead become informed by afro-futuristic imaginings and dis-identification politics.
Grace Adeniyi Ogunyankin is currently an Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She is interested in urban renewal and new city building projects in Nigeria and Ghana. She also engages with the paradoxes of ‘Africa rising’ narratives in popular culture.