Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


African Studies Seminar: The arts of oil - dis/enchantment and popular culture in Port Harcourt

21 February 2019, 1:15 pm–2:45 pm

breaking news

The UCL African Studies Seminar welcomes David Pratten, University of Oxford, for the third seminar of this autumn term: ‘The arts of oil: dis/enchantment and popular culture in Port Harcourt’. Seminars will take place every other Thursday this term.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to





Hélène Neveu Kringelbach


IAS Seminar room 20
First floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

This research engages with the emerging field of ‘oil culture’ or ‘petro-culture’ studies. It aims to make visible the conspicuously invisible role of oil in everyday life and culture, and to do so by examining the cultural history of Port Harcourt - a symbol and a catalyst of Nigeria’s incorporation into the global economy of energy capitalism. It examines how the popular arts reflect a dialectic of enchantment and disenchantment with the Nigerian petro-state. In what ways do the popular arts celebrate its profits and politics, and critique its inequalities and injustices? Is the popular culture of oil a protest culture? Can we demonstrate the role of political ecology on cultural creativity in local arts and in the diaspora?

Download the Winter 2019 programme here

All welcome.

This seminar series is convened by the African Studies Research Centre/IAS:

Image: Johnson Uwadinma, Breaking News, 2017