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    Ghana must go: modernity, memory and material culture in post-independence West Africa

    Okudzeto, Senam Awo (2022) Ghana must go: modernity, memory and material culture in post-independence West Africa. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This dissertation investigates the capacity for objects and material culture to embody opposing or multiple versions of the past, focusing on the post-independence upheavals of Ghana. The work combines historical research–examination of historical documents, news media, and objects themselves, as well as personal interviews and fieldwork–with a theoretical investigation of how we understand history to be constituted in material culture. One of the intentions of this investigation is to examine the ways in which national identities are formed in direct relation to material culture. Obliterated or nearly forgotten histories are traced and articulated through everyday things; the built environment; and structures both found and made. Some of the artefacts examined in this thesis include a plastic bag; early through late 20thcentury architectural forms, such as colonial and post-independence monuments; and items within the landscape and environment. These artefacts help to underscore the genesis of contemporary Ghana as a nation. The country’s cultural and political history are used to explain how identity and identifications are constructed in relation to ideas of modernity. Many of the artefacts under review are linked to Ghana’s complicated history as a slave trading nation; therefore a part of this dissertation includes an analysis of existing scholarship relating to a slave monument in the Volta Region. This part of the analysis show show artefacts can easily produce polyvalent readings that can undermine the reliability of source materials in the field of research. The dissertation’s central themes are framed by ideas drawn from a number of important thinkers, including Paul Gilroy, whose notion of the The Black Atlantic (1993) examines links between the cultures within the so-called ‘Black Triangle’ (the USA, Europe and Africa) in the context of the legacy of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2022 10:44
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:50


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