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Humanities Lab | Lindsey Green Simms

Cruising the Petro-state: Car Culture and Nigerian Cinema

Lindsey Green-Simms

Join us for a lecture by Professor Lindsey Green-Simms (Department of Literature, American University) on Wednesday, November 2 at 1:00 p.m. in 228 Battle-Tompkins to learn about how luxury cars and car culture inform notions of cultural and social mobility in Africa.

This talk examines car culture and the status of the private automobile in post oil-boom Nigeria by reading popular video films that are a part of the now-famous “Nollywood” industry. In particular, it will discuss how luxury cars like the Hummer or Mercedes Benz are paradigmatic and contradictory objects through which one can assess both the pleasures and anxieties of global modernity in Nigeria. Though these cars are highly coveted objects, typically filmed driving down paved roads in posh neighborhoods, they are often a sign of wealth that is acquired through criminality, witchcraft, magic, or fraud. Any discussion of car culture therefore requires an engagement with the complexities of the moral economy of Nigeria and assessment of what it means to be a capitalist consumer in a highly stratified oil-producing country. Read more on our Wordpress site.


About Professor Green-Simms

Lindsey Green-Simms’ teaching and research focuses on African and post-colonial film and literature. Her particular interests include globalization, technology, gender and sexuality studies, and Nollywood video-film production. Professor Green-Simms’ forthcoming book, Postcolonial Automobility: Cars, Cultural Production, and Global Mobility in West Africa, examines how the contradictions of globalization are embedded in the commodity of the automobile and in the ideals of automobility. She is also working on a second book, provisionally titled Unbelonging Bodies: Same-Sex Sexualities and African Screen Media. Professor Green-Simms completed her doctorate in Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota, and has previously taught at Duke University, where she was a postdoctoral fellow in Women’s Studies, as well as at the College of Charleston. She has published articles in Camera Obscura, transition, Journal of African Cinemas, and Journal of Postcolonial Writing and has book chapters in Viewing African Cinema in the Twenty-First Century (Ohio U. Press) and Indiscretions: At the Intersection of Queer and Postcolonial Theory (Rodopi Press).