Our invited artist on Saturday, June 22nd is Manthia Diawara. We will screen Manthia Diawara's film Edouard Glissant: One World in Relation (2010), followed by an interview with the author/filmmaker by Professor Mohamed Mbodj, Professor of History and African Studies, Manhattanville College. The interview will be followed by Q & A.
Manthia Diawara is a writer, cultural theorist, film director, and scholar. He is Professor of Comparative Literature and Cinema Studies at New York University and is director emeritus of the Institute of African American Affairs. Born in Mali’s capital Bamako, Manthia Diawara spent his youth in Guinea until 1964 when his family was expelled from the country by the regime of Ahmed Sékou Touré. While attending school in Bamako, Diawara became involved in a student group called “The Rockers” and began listening to music by James Brown, Wilson Pickett, Otis Redding, and Ike and Tina Turner. The group was opposed to the Vietnam War and apartheid and aligned itself with Black Power, the Black Panthers, and the Black Muslims. Diawara went on to study literature in France and subsequently moved to the United States, where he completed his doctorate at Indiana University in 1985. He then taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Pennsylvania, establishing the Africana Studies Program at NYU in 1992. In addition to founding the journal Black Renaissance Noire, Diawara has written extensively on the films and literature of the Black Diaspora. His essays on art, cinema and politics have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, LA Times, Libération, Mediapart and Artforum. He is the author of African Cinema: Politics and Culture, Black American Cinema: Aesthetics and Spectatorship, In Search of Africa, We Won’t Budge: An African Exile in the World, and African Film: New Forms of Aesthetics and Politics.
In addition to his academic work, Diawara has collaborated with the renowned Kenyan writer Ngûgî wa Thiong’o in making the documentary film Sembène: The Making of African Cinema. Diawara’s notable films include: Negritude: A Dialogue between Soyinka and Senghor (2016), Édouard Glissant, One World in Relation (2010) which documented his conversations with Martinican philosopher, writer, and poet Édouard Glissant aboard the Queen Mary II on their transatlantic journey from Southampton, England to New York City), Maison Tropicale (2008), Rouch In Reverse (1995), and most recently, An Opera of the World (2017).