Undergraduate Seminar: Lagos: Picturing the African Megacity
Lagos is a city of constant flux, centuries-old cosmopolitanism, endless excitement, boundless potential, unchecked expansion, and 24/7 hustle. For the many millions who call the city home, Lagos life is also defined by daily frustrations, broken dreams, stalled traffic, power outages, police brutality, forced displacement, and extreme disparities in wealth and access to power. In this course, we will explore the ways in which this dynamic city and its inhabitants have been represented, from precolonial to postcolonial times. We will consider the fashioning of the modern self in early Lagosian photography; cartographic representations of the city; political dissidence in the visual culture of Fela’s Afrobeat; the treacherous urban landscape of Nollywood’s filmic imagination; Rem Koolhaas’ celebration of informal urbanism; and current state efforts to beautify the city through planning initiatives, public art projects, and the greenlighting of elite developments. We will also study the work of contemporary Lagos-based artists alongside the work of social justice and environmental activists as we consider visions of a future Lagos.
This course fulfills the following requirements for the History of Art major: Geographical area (D) and Chronological period (III).