Comparative Conceptualizations of Time in Nairobi and Lagos
Bettina Ng’weno, UC Davis
Chrystel Oloukoï, Harvard
Mamadou Diouf, Columbia
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How do the alternative constructions of – Afrofuturism and Afro Pessimism – confound linear time evidenced in African philosophy, literature, music, and film? How do these constructions intersect with everyday urbanism? Focusing on Nairobi and Lagos, this session will explore the imaginations and reconceptualization of time experienced by urbanites. Our panelists will consider how age, class, race, and gender shape the making of new temporalities in African cities. They will also unpack the socio-political and economic factors that have shaped how urban Africans produce new meanings of time.
This is the second discussion in the On African Urbanism(s) series organized by Princeton Mellon Fellows Devanne Brookins and Halimat Somotan and co-sponsored by the Program in African Studies.
The series will explore the African urban condition through engaging a variety of dimensions and sites, seeking to deepen our understanding of essential characteristics of African cities including patterns of city formation and logics of place-making. Key dimensions under consideration are time – temporality and the dual presence of past and future in the production of the city; scale – the differentiation of the neighborhood, city, and metropolitan areas; and space – the intersections of territory, values and contestation. These dimensions implicate the role of architects, planners and developers in constructing representations of space that can be exclusionary, emancipatory or elusive. Threaded throughout these conversations is the human dimension, or the experience of urbanism, how individuals and communities navigate urbanscapes to survive, belong and create the city for themselves.