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Negotiating identities: representations of childhood in Senegalese cinema

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This article offers a critique of reductive paradigms that pit the West against Africa by means of specific analysis of representations of childhood in early and contemporary Senegalese fiction films. Since children are by nature malleable and impressionable, and the notion of childhood itself unstable, children as characters and symbols provide a challenging and engaging way of dealing with issues of identity and a crisis of representation within an African screen media context. The article discusses to what extent audio-visual African representations of childhood allow African directors to reclaim autonomous yet hybrid identities on behalf of Africans, and argues that cinematic representations of childhood are key to building a more positive, multi-faceted vision of Africa, African cultures and African identities.

Keywords: African film; Ben Diogaye Beye; Djibril Diop Mambety; Ousmane Sembene; Senegalese cinema; childhood representations

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: London.

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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  • The Journal of African Media Studies (JAMS) is an interdisciplinary journal that provides a forum for debate on the historical and contemporary aspects of media and communication in Africa.�
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