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From Google Doodles to Facebook: Nostalgia and Visual Reconstructions of the Past in Nigeria

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 April 2021


In June 2019, Google announced plans to connect Africa to Europe through an undersea internet cable project named Equiano. As a techno-commercial platform, Google’s gesture warrants scrutiny and propels this essay’s analyses of the political connections of Internet spaces that also enable a visual turn in the scholarship of African history. Using the Google search engine and Facebook, Yékú and Ojebode stress the embeddedness of digital technologies in cultural meanings that include visual narratives that visibilize government’s ahistoricism. They conclude by foregrounding the digital labors of Nigerian digital subjects who deploy historical photographs on Facebook as expressions of performative nostalgia.



En juin 2019, Google a annoncé son intention de lier l’Afrique à l’Europe grâce à un projet de câble Internet sous-marin nommé Equiano. En tant que plateforme technico- commerciale, le geste de Google justifie un examen minutieux et lance les analyses de cette étude sur les liens politiques des espaces Internet qui permettent également l’étude d’un tournant visuel de l’histoire africaine. En utilisant le moteur de recherche Google et Facebook, Yékú et Ojebode soulignent l’intégration des technologies numériques dans des significations culturelles qui incluent des récits visuels qui rendent visible l’anhistorisme du gouvernement. Ils concluent en mettant en avant les travaux numériques de sujets nigérians qui déploient des photographies historiques sur Facebook comme expressions d’une nostalgie performative.



Em junho de 2019, a Google anunciou que planeava ligar África à Europa através de um projeto de instalação de cabos marítimos de internet chamado Equiano. Enquanto plataforma técnico-comercial, esta iniciativa da Google merece a devida atenção e suscita uma análise, que será desenvolvida neste artigo, sobre as implicações políticas dos espaços de internet, os quais possibilitam uma mudança de paradigma visual na produção académica da história africana. Recorrendo ao motor de busca da Google e ao Facebook, Yékú e Ojebode sublinham a indissociabilidade entre as tecnologias digitais e os significados culturais em torno de narrativas visuais que tornam visível o a-historicismo do governo. Os autores terminam colocando em primeiro plano as iniciativas digitais de cidadãos nigerianos utilizadores de internet que publicam fotografias históricas no Facebook como forma de exprimirem uma nostalgia performativa.

© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the African Studies Association

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