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Africa in the American ImaginationPopular Culture, Radicalized Identities, and African Visual Culture$
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Carol Magee

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781617031526

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617031526.001.0001

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. “It’s Sort of Like National Geographic Meets Sports Illustrated”

. “It’s Sort of Like National Geographic Meets Sports Illustrated”

(p.59) 3. “It’s Sort of Like National Geographic Meets Sports Illustrated
Africa in the American Imagination

Carol Magee

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter further examines the Sports Illustrated case, focusing mainly on two things. The first argument deals mainly with the touristic travel context of the swimsuit issue. This context alone reflects racial conceptions that posit Africans as inferior to Westerners. This notion is seen in representational practices that perpetuate colonial relations. In a way, the photo shoot created a sense of colonialism because it placed contemporary American identity in relation to the rest of the world. At the same time, the meaning for the Ndebele audience and participants was different. For them, the photographs speak to autonomy, cultural pride, and economic power, more so because they relate to the postapartheid moment in which the shoot took place. This meaning for the Ndebele audience, then, is what constitutes the second discussion of this chapter. The chapter explores these contrasting meanings as well as the intersections of various localities in these representations.

Keywords:   Sports Illustrated, touristic travel, racial conceptions, representational practices, colonial relations, colonialism, contemporary American identity, Ndebele

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