Call for Papers: Journal of Pan African Studies, 01/08
(Product)Red: (re)Branding Africa?
"Frictionless capitalism," "conscience consumers," "shop until it stops,"
"punk rock capitalism," and "Brand Bono," are just a handful of catch
phrases and popular culture terms being used to describe and explain the
brainchild of U2's front man, Bono and Kennedy clan's Bobby Shriver
(Product)Red. While many of us may not be familiar with (Product)Red and
what it has called its "Manifesto," we all been witness to the numerous
adverts and billboards featuring Hollywood celebrities sporting RED
t-shirts, or the massive media attention that this campaign has received.
Producing the (Product)Red brand as one designed for "responsible" consumers
appears to have required the simultaneous production of a discourse on
This edition of JPAS invites papers that critique, analyze, and offer
insights into (Product)Red, specifically, the image(s) of Africa it
(re)presents and seeks to (re)present, as well as the forms and kinds of
knowledges it is creating and/or reviving. Contributions may examine
(Product)Red commercials, its business model, website, participating
campaigns (i.e. GAP, Apple, etc.), as well as Bono's appearance on Oprah,
Bono's special editions of Vanity Fair and The Independent, and various
artists/celebrities who contribute to the (Product)Red campaign. Of
particular interest, is the campaign's use of discourses on "African AIDS,"
African poverty, corruption, or the feminization of poverty, for example, to
create an image of Africa that "sells" to the "Western" consumer. In this
light, papers exploring the relationship produced between
"Africa"/"Africans" and (Product)Red consumers (two categories that are
presumably mutually exclusive) is also of interest. More generally, this
issue wishes to explore the aspects of knowledge about Africa that this
campaign is creating or re/producing. Those interested, can send papers to
Danai Mupotsa at email@example.com by 15 January 2008.
Page Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D.