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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Democratizing Cinema and Censorship in Tanzania, 1920-1980
Author:Brennan, James R.ISNI
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies
Geographic term:Tanzania
colonial period
urban life
History and Exploration
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
Politics and Government
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Ethnic and Race Relations
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40033967
Abstract:Focusing on the period 1920-1980, this article examines the political processes that emerged with the growth of cinema in colonial and postcolonial Tanzania. It focuses on the cinematograph licensing boards, institutions that served as the image gatekeepers of Tanzania. It situates the significance of censorship beyond a chronicle of the condescension and fears of Europeans - who were afraid that the corrupting influence of Western cinema on 'impressionable' African film goers might undermine the racial boundaries that supported colonial hierarchies - and into a broader framework of struggle for institutional control over cinema itself in the context of the increasing democratization of local and national politics. This struggle over democratizing access to cinema and its censorship broadly mirrors the struggle of African nationalists for political independence but also reveals the contradictions of the censoring nationalist elite and continuities between colonial and postcolonial statecraft in Africa. Finally, the article offers a preliminary sketch of the social and economic history of urban cinemas and cinema going in Tanzania. Particular attention is paid to the sub-imperialist role played by the country's Indian population. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]