This book explores the dynamic relationship between politics and the arts in the planning and in the implementation of Senegalese cultural policy since 1960. It examines political reactions to the arts in Senegal, comparing and contrasting the cultural policies of President Leopold Sedar Senghor and President Abdou Diouf. An overview of the French colonial administration and cultural policy in Senegal serve as a background for the central study. The arts have the ability to animate politics, and this text analyzes how and why these two disparate channels came together in such a compelling way, especially in the first decade of Senegal's independence under the leadership of President Senghor.
Known for its lively and influential intelligentsia, Senegal is perhaps the ideal country in which to examine the connection between politics and the arts whicha had an impressive impact on the state's identity. Shortly after independence, numerous overtures were made towards the creation of a national culture as a result of the direct contribution of the state and Senegalese artists.
Senegalese artists have distinguished themselves in film making, theater, literature and music. In conjunction with several directors including Mamadou Sarr, Jean Melo Kane and Robert Christian, Pauline Vieyra produced the first feature length in sub-Saharan Africa, Afriqu sur Seine. Ousmane Sembene, a writer and director with whom Vieyra also collaborated, has built a reputation as one the outstanding filmmakers in Africa. Douta Seck, the late Senegalese actor, was featured in Sembene's Le Mandat (The Money Oder) and Euzhan Palcy's Sugar Cane Alley. The country also produced a number of notable female writers such as Mariama Ba (Une Si Lounge Lettre), Aminata Sow Fall (La Greve des Battu), and most recently Ken Bugul (Baobab Fou). The popular Senegalese musician Youssou N'Dour is one the leading voices of "Afro-pop." Freedom of artistic expression, the rising influence of Islam, the continuing French presence, and democratic reform illuminate the complexities of Senegalese cultural politics.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
TRACY D. SNIPE currently teaches int he Department of Political Science at Wright State University, Ohio.
Arts, Politics, Cultural Studies/AFRICA