African 405: Nollywood

Matthew H. Brown

3 credits

Course Description
Nollywood is the name that Nigerian filmmakers and audiences have adopted for a film industry that has developed in the last 25 years. This new industry began in the early 1990s with the emergence of “video films”—that is, feature-length films shot on video and sold in the market for home viewing. This innovation allowed for an explosion of commercial filmmaking, and Nollywood has quickly become the major audio-visual media industry of the African continent. In this course, we will watch a variety of Nollywood films and learn about the aesthetic strategies they tend to feature, how the industry has changed over time, what conditions contributed to its emergence and growth, and what audiences, governments, scholars, and other observers have had to say about it.

Course Objectives
This course will introduce students to examples of Nollywood, as well as discourses about Nollywood. Students will also be introduced to methods of studying film and concepts necessary for understanding African media. A variety of analytical approaches will be fostered, including narrative and visual analysis, media industry analysis, genre analysis, historical and political analysis, and much more. A combination of readings, film screenings, lectures, student presentations, and small and large essay projects will offer students the opportunity to develop skills for critically thinking about the relationship between motion pictures and society.