Boatema Boteng is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California San Diego. Her main research focus is on the regulatory dimensions of knowledge and its production, as embedded in legal (and other) regimes and in cultural objects and practices. She has published several essays on cultural production in relation to intellectual property law, globalization, gender, and nationalism in continental and diasporic Africa. Her book, The Copyright Thing Doesn’t Work Here: Adinkra and Kente Cloth and Intellectual Property in Ghana, was published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2011.
Talk Title: Adinkra and Kente Cloth in History, Law, and Life
Abstract: Adinkra and kente cloth have changed significantly in the course of their history first as markers of Asante royal power and then of Ghanaian cultural distinction. Once handmade and reserved for the exclusive use of the Asante ruler, cheap mass-produced reproductions now proliferate in Ghanaian markets. In attempting to use intellectual property law to regulate their appropriation, the Ghanaian state has set the conditions for further changes in these fabrics, their designs, and their sources of authority. This paper examines the implications of changing political and regulatory contexts for the past present and future meanings of adinkra and kente cloth for the people who produce and use them.
Boatema’s talk is part of the LACMA plenary session Ancient Knowledge/Indigenous Voices.