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Africa in the American Imagination

(p.173) 7. Refrain
Africa in the American Imagination
Carol Magee
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter summarizes the implications and insights that have been explored throughout the book with regard to the way that Disney, Mattel, and Sports Illustrated have incorporated African visual culture into their own culture products. These three major American popular culture icons have repackaged and re-presented this visual culture to American consumers in such a way that it produces certain meanings and implications about America itself. This African visual culture in American popular culture produces understandings and imaginings about both Africa and America, in that Disney and Sports Illustrated present the visual culture in its original African form — although positioned in new (American) contexts. Disney, for example, through its “it’s a small world” ride, offers a microscopic representation of the world, depicting children from a myriad of cultures, but at the same time it creates different explicit and implicit ideas and ideologies. Primarily, they help to define America in opposition to the differences in other cultures.

Keywords:   Disney, Mattel, Sports Illustrated, African visual culture, culture products, American popular culture

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