Writing Capital's Cosmopole: Towards a Dialogical Narration of South African Performance

Event Info

David B. Coplan is the author of two seminal books about South African popular culture: In Township Tonight! South Africa's Black City Music & Theatre (1985) and In the Time of Cannibals: The Word Music of South Africa's Basotho Migrants (1994)Most recently, he is the author of a more experimental text, Last Night at the Bassline (2017). Coplan will speak about his evolving attempts to "write culture" in Johannesburg, South Africa, in innovative ways that enhance transcommunication. He muses: "Joburg isn't for beginners, as we say, echoing the Cariocas." With this thought in mind, he will present a paper titled: "Writing Capital's Cosmopole: Towards a Dialogical Narration of South African Performance."

Co-sponsored by the Department of Anthropology & African Studies Program

About the Artist:

David B. Coplan is Professor Emeritus in Social Anthropology at the University of The Witwatersrand (South Africa). He has been researching and writing about South African performing arts and media since 1976. He is the author of numerous publications, including most notably 'In Township Tonight! South Africa’s Black City Music and Theatre' (1986) - revised, enlarged and published in a second edition in 2007.

Prof. Coplan is also a specialist in the ethnographic history and performance culture of the Basotho of southern Africa. His related works include 'In the Time of Cannibals: the Word Music of South Africa’s Basotho Migrants' (Chicago 1994), and the film 'Songs of the Adventurers' (Constant Spring Productions 1986).

Prof. Coplan appears frequently on South African radio and television as an arts, culture, and media commentator. He has also written extensively for the popular press and a general readership beyond academic publishing. Prof. Coplan lectures frequently on media issues at scholarly conferences, to the general public, and to the private sector.