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"The Higher the Satellite, the Lower the Culture"? African American Studies in East-Central and Southeastern Europe: The Case of Poland

  • Author(s): Antoszek, Andrzej
  • et al.
Abstract

This paper examines the current position of African American studies in Poland, with Poland serving as an exemplar of similar changes taking place in other countries of East-Central and Southeastern Europe. In doing so, the paper highlights the nature of cultural representations or appropriations of blackness outside the United States, which, removed from their roots, start living their own independent lives. The omnipresence of hip-hop, basketball, and, to a lesser extent, black movies and literature has a direct influence on many cultures in which blackness is assigned a superior status. The foundations of this elevated position are often sustained by popular culture's hunger for the new and flashy, which grants the new forms a very peculiar and simulacral character. However, the paper recognizes that the far-reaching appeal of many black voices would likely be impossible without the aid of global channels of communication. The paper also examines a number of examples of black culture translated into and appropriated by various indigenous productions. It does so not only to show the somewhat naïve and even humorous aspects of many such "trans-nations" but also to demonstrate black culture's inspiring role for various local voices.

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