The Beautiful Skin: Football, Fantasy, and Cinematic Bodies in Africa


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By Kurt Milberger and Michigan State University Press. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

The Beautiful Skin: Football, Fantasy, and Cinematic Bodies in Africa is an original and provocative study of contemporary African film and literature. In the book, Vlad Dima investigates how football and cinema express individual and collective fantasies. Shedding new light on both well-known and less familiar films, The Beautiful Skin asks just whose fantasy is articulated in football and African cinema. Answering this question leads Dima to explore body and identity issues through the metaphor of skin: fantasy as a skin; the football jersey as a skin; and ultimately film itself as a skin that has visual, aural, and haptic qualities. In the neocolonial context, the body is often depicted as suffering through processes of being flattened or emptied out. So frequently do African cinema and literature reproduce this image of the hollowed body, the body of all skin, as it were, that it comes to define neocolonialism. Throughout this book, Dima seeks to answer whether the body of film—the depth of both characters and story within the cinematic skin—could carry us into the post-neocolonial era, an era defined by “full” bodies and personal affirmation.

Vlad Dima is Professor of African Cultural Studies and French at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is the author of Sonic Space in Diop Mambety’s Films and numerous articles, mainly on French and francophone cinemas, but also on francophone literature, comics, American cinema, and television. His third book, “Meaning-Less-Ness in Postcolonial Cinema” is also forthcoming from MSU Press.

The Beautiful Skin: Football, Fantasy, and Cinematic Bodies in Africa is available at and other fine booksellers. You can connect with the press on Facebook and @msupress on Twitter, where you can also find me @kurtmilb.

The MSU Press podcast is a joint production of MSU Press and the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University. Thanks to the team at MSU Press for helping to produce this podcast. Our theme music is “Coffee” by Cambo.

Michigan State University occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary Lands of the Anishinaabeg – Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi people. The University resides on Land ceded in the 1819 Treaty of Saginaw.

34 episodes