John C. McCall's research focuses on African arts, music, and dance. He has a particular interest in the performance arts as mechanisms of collective memory, historiography, and the production of collective meaning in community life.
McCall has devoted most of his research to the arts in Africa. Since 2000 his focus has been Africa's innovative embrace of digital media, which have made it possible for people of modest means to produce and distribute movies without dependence on foreign funding, or relying on the infrastructures of transnational media corporations. Most of this research focuses on the Nigerian video movie industry that has become popularly known as: "Nollywood."