critiquing (product) red

It’s been a while since I updated the blog and that has mainly to do with overcommitment with all manner of work events off-line. I am still recovering, so today I am posting two items — one a call for papers for papers critiquing the discourse produced by (Product)Red. What is that? Read on and find out.

Journal of Pan African Studies (JPAS),

Call for Papers – Journal of Pan African Studies (JPAS),
(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 have 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 Africa.

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 by 15 January 2008.


Posted on 25 October 2007, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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