Ghana’s Electric Dreams : A film by R. Lane Clark and Stephan F. Miescher

Tuesday, 4 February, 2020 - 16:30

WISER and the Oceanic Humanities for the Global South invite you to a film viewing.

On Monday, February 3, 2020 at 5pm in the WISER Seminar Room, 6th Floor of the Richard Ward Building

[Akosombo Dam]The documentary film Ghana’s Electric Dreams, a unique collaboration between filmmaker R. Lane Clark and historian Stephan F. Miescher, presents the story of the planning and wide-ranging impact of the Akosombo Dam, Ghana’s most ambitious development project. The film takes the viewer on visits to sites affected by this hydroelectric dam and by the broader vision of modernization that it represents. Interviews with Ghanaians, enriched by historical footage, reveal the complexity and contradictions of modernization. They show how Ghanaians have been living with Akosombo for over fifty year, striving to shape it to their own needs. Recurring themes, including unintended consequences, social inequities, rural/urban divides, and gender differences, underlie this portrait of energy, power, and creativity in this West African country. The multiple viewpoints demonstrate that modernization remains an unfinished project. The story of Akosombo is at once a subject of national pride, ambivalence, and controversy, as well as of international scholarly interest and debate. The film is organized into six segments, 20 minutes each. They explore issues of energy justice and sustainability, as they unpack the promises and challenges of Akosombo. The six segments include:

1. “Nkrumah’s Baby” (Introduction) 2. “Nobody Should Be Made Worse Off” (recounts the hardships of resettlement) 3. “Man’s Greatest Lake” (explores the environmental and social consequences of creating Volta Lake) 4. “Waiting for Light” (presents rural people’s struggle for electrification) 5. “An American Island in Ghana” (features employees of the Volta Aluminium Company, the dam’s main beneficiary) 6. “Ghana’s City of the Future” (documents the story of squatters in the model city at the base of the dam)