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Manthia Diawara - 10/6/09

Who We Are

Who We Are

Manthia DiawaraProfessor Diawara is the Director of New York University's Institute of Afro-American Affairs and is a professor of Comparative Literature and Film. A native of Mali, Professor Diawara received his education in France and later traveled to the United States for his university studies. He earned his Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1985. His dissertation on the politics and aesthetics of African cinema formed the basis of his 1992 work, African Cinema: Politics and Culture.

Diawara's research has focused in the field of black cultural studies, though it differs from the traditional approach to black cultural studies that was formulated in Britain in the early 1980s by figures such as Stuart Hall and Paul Gilroy. He complicates the British approach by considering material conditions of African-Americans to provide a broader context to study African diasporic culture.

Diawara has broadened the growing discourse of Black film, particularly in his thinking around questions of Black spectatorship in relation to traditional Hollywood spatial paradigms. His essays on contemporary Black film have contributed to the expanding body of work on Black film. Professor Diawara collaborated with Ngûgî wa Thiong'o in making the documentary Sembene Ousmane: The Making of the African Cinema, and he directed the German-produced documentary Rouch in Reverse.

Prior to teaching at New York University, Diawara taught at the University of California at Santa Barbara and the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of We Won't Budge: An African Exhile in the World (2003), Black-American Cinema: Aesthetics and Spectatorship (1993), and In Search of Africa (1998).