Screening Dirt: Public Health Movies in Colonial Nigeria and Rural African Spectatorship in the 1930s And 1940s

Screening Dirt: Public Health Movies in Colonial Nigeria and Rural African Spectatorship in the 1930s And 1940s

Author: 
Newell, Stephanie
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor and Francis
Date published: 
2018
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Social Dynamics
Source: 
Social Dynamics Vol 44 No 1 April 2018 pp. 6-20
Abstract: 

From the inception of colonial film-making in British West Africa in the early 1930s, dirt and the cinema were closely connected. Numerous educational movies were produced to show Africans the economically, physically and morally degrading consequences of "dirty habits." By the early 1940s, the Colonial Office had come to realise that, within the cinema spaces created by mobile health units across Africa, intended audiences processed images and messages through their own aesthetic, spiritual, moral, economic and political value systems. These systems exceeded colonial projections and defied assimilation into colonial categories of dirt. This article focuses on the complexity of intended audiences' responses to the simple ideological formula of colonial health and hygiene films. It argues that the presence of local aesthetic tastes and values in media archives on public health and hygiene in colonial Africa represents a vital space of mediation that must be considered alongside film content and film-makers' intentions.

Language: 
Country focus: 
Date created: 
Thursday, November 29, 2018