ABSTRACT

When it comes to issues of contemporary post-colonial discourse, the medium of printed literature needs to be seen as but one of many media; for many post-colonial constituencies, the media of music, visual art and film may be more compelling, accessible and popular expressions, equally in need of theorisation. Stuart Hall's discussion invokes cinema; that of bell hooks contrasts the reception of Black literature and music in the United States. Arguments for the greater popular accessibility of cinema over literature, for instance, have led the Senegalese artist Sembene Ousmane to turn to film-making in preference to fiction-writing (see the reading by Laura Mulvey in Part Six). There are a number of material questions which need to be asked of the production of post-colonial cultural discourse: Who controls its production and distribution? Who/what forms its intended and actual audience? As hooks suggests, US publishers play an instrumental role in determining the values and character of much Black writing. The relations between style, technology and economy require theorisation. In the very different context of modern Africa, the example of Chinua Achebe's and Ngiigi wa Thiong'o's debate over the usage of European languages in modern literary production raises similar questions about the politics and economics of publishing, about literacy, access to and distribution of literature, and implied and empirical audiences.