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Wesleyan University | Center for the Humanities


Histories of Dirt in Lagos Poster


Histories of Dirt in Lagos


Stephanie Newell • Yale University

October 12 @ 6 P.M.
Zoom Conference: https://wesleyan.zoom.us/j/95004803269

Focusing on popular perceptions of waste in Lagos, Nigeria, this lecture examines the ways ‘dirt’ signifies politically through complex cultural networks in urban West Africa, and the ways urban identities and relationships may be marked and transformed over time by categories denoting dirt. The lecture will discuss the rich layers of historical signification that often attach to everyday sanitary practices like defecation or sweeping, and it will argue that attention to these practices can open up local histories that are useful if we wish to situate global public health and sanitary discourses. Examples from Lagos are used to show how colonial public health strategies from the early twentieth century have changed over the decades and taken on cultural value in music and popular discourse, becoming available, in dynamic ways, as symbols with resonance among the public in the contemporary city.

View Fall 2020 Lecture List

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