Reviews Birgit Meyer’s ‘Sensational Movies’

4 August, 2017

Birgit Meyer’s book Sensational Movies. Video, Vision and Christianity in Ghana (University of California Press, 2015) traces the rise and development of the Ghanaian video-film industry between 1985 and 2010.

It approaches video movies as seismographic devices that register a world in turmoil. As a new haptic medium of and for the imagination, video offers deep insight in current politics and aesthetics of religious world-making.

Analyzed as powerful sensational forms, movies are shown to collide with the regime of visibility that underpinned state-governed representations of culture. Exploring the format of “film as revelation,”

Meyer unpacks the affinity between cinematic and popular Christian modes of looking and showcases the transgressive potential haunting figurations of the occult.

The book has been reviewed in many venues:

Lotte Hoek: Revelations in the Anthropology of Cinema, Anthropology of this Century (16, 2016)

Katrien Pype: Of Witches and the Holy Spirit: Christian Film Production in Ghana. September 10, 2016 

John Durham Peters and Gavin Feller: Sensational Movies: Book Review 

Review Symposium: Studying religion, audiovisual media, and the production of the ‘religious real’: introducing a review symposium on Birgit Meyer’s Sensational Movies (2015), ed. By Adrian Hermann, with contributions by Adran Hermann, Rosalind Hackett, Don Seeman, David Morgan, Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, Stefanie Knauss, Duane Jethro, and concluding comments by Birgit Meyer.

Naomie Haynes, American Ethnologist (Vol 43/3: 563-564)

Adam T. Shreve, Material Religion (Vol 12 (1))

Book review by Marleen de Witte in Anthropos 112.2017:

Book review by Roger Horn in Anthropology Southern Africa, 40, 2017.

Book review by Christine Albertini in On Knowing Humanity Journal (2020)