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Bruce Robbins, Paulo Lemos Horta, and Kwame Anthony Appiah

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781479829682

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479829682.001.0001

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City of Youth and Mellow Elusiveness

City of Youth and Mellow Elusiveness

Accra’s Cosmopolitan Constellations

(p.215) 16 City of Youth and Mellow Elusiveness

Ato Quayson

NYU Press

Ato Quayson grounds his analysis of cosmopolitanism in urban social space, where he finds cosmopolitanism visible in the streets—in the self-fashioning of the youth of Accra, for example, defined by overlapping histories manifest in the city’s signs and slogans, the music, the food, the architecture, the shape of the streets themselves. While Silviano Santiago points out the influence on Brazilian popular cosmopolitanism of the cultures brought over by slaves from Africa, Quayson symmetrically reveals the influence of former slaves from Brazil who settled in Accra. The Tabon were former slaves who migrated to Ghana in 1836, probably in the aftermath of the 1835 Muslim slave rebellion in Bahia. They brought with them both a Portuguese language, which served them well when Portuguese pidgin was still prevalent in mercantile networks, and skills and trades vital for developing the urban street culture of Accra and tapping into transnational networks of commerce.

Keywords:   urbanism, diaspora, Accra, Brazil, youth culture, commerce

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