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October 25 , 2010

African Youth in Contemporary Literature and Popular Culture

Identity Quest


This book explores how African youth are depicted in contemporary literature and popular culture, and discusses the different ways by which they attempt to construct personal and cultural identities through popular culture and social media outlets. The contributors approach the subject from an interdisciplinary perspective, looking at images in children’s and adolescent literature from Africa, and the African diaspora, from Nollywood and Hollywood movies, from popular magazines, and from youth cultures encountered directly through field experiences. The findings reveal that there are many stereotypes about Africa, African youth and black cultures, and that African youth are aware of these. Since they juggle multiple identities shaped by their ethnicities, race and religion, it is often a challenge for them to define themselves. As they also share a global youth culture that transcends these cultural markers, some take advantage of media outlets to voice their concerns and participate in political struggles. Others simply use these to promote their personal interests. Contributors ponder the challenges involved in constructing unique identities, offering ideas on how African youth are doing so successfully or not in different parts of the continent and the African diaspora, and thus offer new possibilities for youth studies.

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