C.L.R. James, Vanity Fair and the audience

Summer 2011

Focussing on locally-owned newspapers in colonial West Africa, this essay presents a history of reading in the colonies which experiments with reading beyond, or reading outside, the anti-colonial nationalist perspective that prevails over newspaper history. The essay asks what kind of ‘information’ about the values, attitudes, aspirations and articulations of diverse colonial readerships can be extrapolated from the indigenous press, and about the manner in which ‘non-readers’ in West Africa interacted with printed forms, including the newspaper.

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NF 73 Reading After Empire