This book explores how African youth are depicted in contemporary literature and popular culture, and discusses the different ways by which they attempt to construct personal and cultural identities through popular culture and social media outlets. The contributors approach the subject from an interdisciplinary perspective, looking at images in children’s and adolescent literature from Africa, and the African diaspora, from Nollywood and Hollywood movies, from popular magazines, and from youth cultures encountered directly through field experiences. The findings reveal that there are many stereotypes about Africa, African youth and black cultures, and that African youth are aware of these. Since they juggle multiple identities shaped by their ethnicities, race and religion, it is often a challenge for them to define themselves. As they also share a global youth culture that transcends these cultural markers, some take advantage of media outlets to voice their concerns and participate in political struggles. Others simply use these to promote their personal interests. Contributors ponder the challenges involved in constructing unique identities, offering ideas on how African youth are doing so successfully or not in different parts of the continent and the African diaspora, and thus offer new possibilities for youth studies.
Table of Contents
1. African Youth: Cultural Identity in Literature, Media and Imagined Spaces. Vivian Yenika-Agbaw and Lindah Mhando 2. Gender Bending and Identity Construction in Jelloun’s The Sand Child. Lindah Mhando and Vivian Yenika-Agbaw 3. Childhood Creative Spaces as Survival Spaces in Sade Adeniran’s Imagine This. Suzanne Marie Ondrus 4. Edwidge Danticat’s Breath, Eyes, Memory: A Critique on the Tradition of "Testing" Renee Latchman 5. Sankofa’s Songbirds: African American Children as Culture Bearers in Jazz-Infused Children’s Literature Ada McKenzie 6. African American Boys’ Responses to Illustrations and Text Involving Black Inmates and Gangsters in Multicultural Children’s Literature Mary Ellen Oslick 7. The Global Outsiders and Colonized: African Child Soldiers and Inner-City African American Teen Gangsters in Adolescent Literature Yoo Kyung Sung 8. Continuing the Conversation: Consider Morality in African Diaspora Nonfiction Picture Books Shanetia P. Clark and Barbara A. Marinak 9. The Exotic, Mysterious and "Darkest Africa" Seemi Aziz 10. Breaking Barriers: African Knowledge Systems as Windows to Understanding African Childhood in a United States Social Studies Classroom Lewis Asimeng-Boahene 11. The Rise of Sheng: A Sociolinguistic Revolution from Below. Michael Wairungu 12. How African Youth Control Their Identities Through Social Media Stephen Ekema-Agbaw and Vivian Yenika-Agbaw 13. Social Media and North African Arab Spring Youth Identity Wafa Hozien 14. Nollywood Whispers as a Beacon of Hope for Youths Agatha Ada Ukata 15. "Planète Jeunes": African Youth Cultures and Globalization Nalova Westbrook
Vivian Yenika-Agbaw is associate professor at Penn State University, University Park, where she teaches children’s/adolescent literature.
Lindah Mhando is currently a visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of African and African American Studies at Duke University, where she teaches feminism, migration/immigration and citizenship.