Ohio University Press · Swallow Press ·

A Ohio University Press Book

African Video Movies and Global Desires
A Ghanaian History

By Carmela Garritano

2015 Winner of the African Literature Association First Book Award · A 2013 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

“Rarely does a book come along that opens up an entirely new world in cinema studies. This sophisticated volume, a groundbreaking book for a number of reasons, does just that…. Summing Up: Highly recommended.”


“An extremely important contribution to the field of African media studies. Garritano’s work is not only the first monograph to focus on Ghanaian video movies, it also adds to ongoing conversations about postcolonial visual cultures, globalization, consumerism, and African gender dynamics…. Garritano has written what might easily be the first feminist monograph on popular African screen media.”

Black Camera

“A satisfying and authoritative account…. Garritano situates Ghana’s video industries within complex global flows of capital, neo- liberal economies, and their effects on desire and subjectivity…. The book’s scope and conceptual framing will be familiar and useful to readers in other areas of film and media studies.”

African Arts

“In this impressive work, it is clear that the close analyses of the various visual texts and their respective subject matter are informed by both solid ethnographic fieldwork insights and the supple application of theoretical perspectives from film and literary studies…. When Ghanaian popular culture studies does become an established subfield in African studies, this book should definitely be required reading.”

Cinema Journal

African Video Movies and Global Desires is the first full-length scholarly study of Ghana’s commercial video industry, an industry that has produced thousands of movies over the last twenty years and has grown into an influential source of cultural production. Produced and consumed under circumstances of dire shortage and scarcity, African video movies narrate the desires and anxieties created by Africa’s incorporation into the global cultural economy.

Drawing on archival and ethnographic research conducted in Ghana over a ten-year period, as well as close readings of a number of individual movies, this book brings the insights of historical context as well as literary and film analysis to bear on a range of movies and the industry as a whole. Garritano makes a significant contribution to the examination of gender norms and the ideologies these movies produce.

African Video Movies and Global Desires is a historically and theoretically informed cultural history of an African visual genre that will only continue to grow in size and influence.

Carmela Garritano is an associate professor of Africana Studies and Film Studies at Texas A&M University. Her research has been supported by grants from Fulbright IIE and the West African Research Association.   More info →


Table of Contents and Introduction


Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
    African Popular Videos as Global Cultural Forms
  • 1
    Mapping the Modern: The Gold Coast Film Unit and the Ghana Film Industry Corporation
  • 2
    Work, Women, and Worldly Wealth: Global Video
    Culture and the Early Years of Local Video Production
  • 3
    Professional Movies and Their Global Aspirations:
    The Second Wave of Video Production in Ghana
  • 4
    Tourism and Trafficking:
    Views from Abroad in the Transnational Travel Movie
  • 5
    Transcultural Encounters and Local Imaginaries: Nollywood and the Ghanaian Movie Industry in the Twenty-First Century
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • List of Films and Videos
  • References
  • Index

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To request instructor exam/desk copies, email Jeff Kallet at

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Retail price: $32.95, S.
Release date: February 2013
284 pages · 5½ × 8½ in.
Rights:  World

Release date: February 2013
284 pages
Rights:  World

Additional Praise for African Video Movies and Global Desires

“This book is a forerunner in the excavation and understanding of the Ghanaian video movie industry's emergence out of neoliberal economic policies over the past two decades. It highlights the struggles and tensions between Ghana’s dynamic local, national, and regional video movie industries. Garritano brings to light the contemporary paradoxical struggle of Ghanaian video movies’ attempts to creatively re-frame and confront ‘the grand narratives of modernity and globalization’ while simultaneously often being complicit to such forces.”

African Studies Quarterly

“With African Video Movies and Global Desires, Carmela Garritano has established her place among the major interpreters of contemporary African video films…whose groundbreaking work has served to establish a new field of cinema studies and a new approach to African Cinema.”

African Studies Review

“This is an excellent book: admirably sophisti­cated, solid, cogent, purposeful, and fine-grained. It is built on an enormous amount of careful research … and fieldwork of a depth that only a very few other researchers on African film can match.”

Jonathan Haynes, Long Island University (Brooklyn)

“[This book] makes an extremely important contribution to African film, media, and cultural studies more generally with the way in which it focuses its close film analyses through the lens of gender.”

Lindiwe Dovey, University of London

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