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The Creation of Nigerian Film Genres


The Creation of Nigerian Film Genres

Nigeria’s Nollywood has rapidly grown into one of the world’s largest film industries, radically altering media environments across Africa and in the diaspora; it has also become one of African culture’s most powerful and consequential expressions, powerfully shaping how Africans see themselves and are seen by others. With this book, Jonathan Haynes provides an accessible and authoritative introduction to this vast industry and its film culture.

Haynes describes the major Nigerian film genres and how they relate to Nigerian society—its values, desires, anxieties, and social tensions—as the country and its movies have developed together over the turbulent past two decades. As he shows, Nollywood is a form of popular culture; it produces a flood of stories, repeating the ones that mean the most to its broad audience. He interprets these generic stories and the cast of mythic figures within them: the long-suffering wives, the business tricksters, the Bible-wielding pastors, the kings in their traditional regalia, the glamorous young professionals, the emigrants stranded in New York or London, and all the rest. Based on more than twenty years of research, Haynes’s survey of Nollywood’s history and genres is unprecedented in scope, while his book also vividly describes landmark films, leading directors, and the complex character of this major branch of world cinema.

416 pages | 9 halftones, 3 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2016

African Studies

Film Studies

Media Studies


"Jonathan Haynes’s Nollywood: The Creation of Nigerian Film Genres offers researchers and cinephiles alike a fitting template toward further elucidation and expansion on this atypical, chaotic, and consequential arena of world cinema."

Film Matters

“A superb work of scholarship—and of love. This is the very first book on Nollywood to give the needed detailed account of the genres unique to it. Haynes gives those genres a careful and convincing assessment, linking them to their sociocultural and political contexts in Nigeria’s turbulent, chaotic, but ultimately buoyant and optimistic encounter with modernity.”

Biodun Jeyifo, Harvard University

“Nollywood has rightly been recognized as one of the most dynamic forms of cultural production in Africa, one that opens up larger questions about the emergence of new film platforms that are of interest far beyond Africa. But until now no book has described in cohesive form the basic genres, major directors, and structural conditions of this film industry. In Nollywood, Jonathan Haynes does exactly this in a definitive text that will establish the scholarly study of Nigerian film for a generation. Written in a clear, engaging style, this is a book that can be read by newcomers and specialists alike. Nollywood represents the distillation of twenty years of research that reflects Haynes’ deep connections to Nigeria and Nigerian film. Its profusion of insights and comprehensive coverage promises that Nollywood will be the entry point for anyone interested in this innovative and vibrant film industry.”

Brian Larkin, Columbia University

"What Haynes accomplishes with his latest book, then, is not just a blow-by-blow account of the history of Nollywood, its inner workings, and some of its canonical texts, but a convincing rationale of why the films produced by the industry matter."

Pual Ugor | Dispatches from the Poetry Wars

Table of Contents


Part 1
1 Creating Nollywood: Conditions and Foundations
2 Living in Bondage: Money and Values
3 Nnebue’s Glamour Girls: Scandalous Women
4 Family Films
5 Tunde Kelani, the Auteur

Part 2
6 The Cultural Epic: Representing the Past
7 Crime, Vigilante, and Village Films: Violence and Insecurity
8 Political Films
9 Comedies

Part 3
10 The Nollywood Diaspora: Nigerians Abroad
11 Campus Films
12 New Nollywood and Kunle Afolayan
Postscript, 2013: Toward the Future


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