Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

Visiting Fellow Archive (2006-2007)

Manthia Diawara


The 2006-2007 Institute for the Humanities Visiting Fellow is Manthia Diawara, University Professor, Comparative Literature and Film, Director of the Institute of African American Affairs, New York University.

He will be in residence at the University of Illinois at Chicago from January 22 to February 2, 2007, offering two seminars and a public lecture. The two seminars are open to faculty and advanced graduate students. Preregistration is not required but it is highly recommended. The lecture on January 30 is open to the public.


Seminar: Monday, January 22, 2007 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 
“Negritude as Performance in the African Novel and Film”
This seminar will propose a reading of Negritude aesthetics in literature, arts and film. The seminar will focus on close readings of such classic texts as “L’enfant noir”, by Camara Laye, and “L’aventure ambigue”, Cheikh Amidou Kane, and the film “Touki-Bouki,” by Djibril Mambety Diop, in order to uncover their deployment of Negritude aesthetics.

Lecture: Tuesday, January 30, 2007 at 4 p.m. 
“Senghor’s Aesthetic Criticism and Contemporary African Art”
When Leopold Sedar Senghor became the first President of Senegal in 1960, he devoted more than 25% of the national budget to culture. He had wanted to uphold the theories of the Negritude movement as national culture for the new nation. He exhorted painters, creative writers and filmmakers to explore the points of encounter between modernism and traditional African cultures. He pointed to the way in which the African mask was an energizing feature in the art of Picasso and for the writers and artists of the Harlem Renaissance. Similarly, the mask could return in contemporary African art as a source of inspiration, a magical and productive object of creativity. In my presentation, I intend to challenge the prevailing characterization of Senghor’s Negritude as imprisoned by French ideologies of assimilation and “Francophonie”, and propose a new approach to Senghor as a cultural nationalist and Pan-Africanist.

Seminar: Thursday, February 1st, 2007 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. 
“Negritude in the art of David Hammons, Yinka Shonibare, Moustapha Dime, Vieux Diba et. al.”
If time permits, the seminar will look at Nigerian video films as the new national and Pan-African imaginary.

Wednesday, January 24 at 2:00 p.m.
“Who is Afraid of Ngugi?”
Filmmaker and Director, Manthia Diawara
This film follows Ngugi Wa Thiongo as he journeys back to Kenya with his wife after prolonged exile.

Books will be available at the UIC Bookstore textbook counter.

       In Senghor’s Shadow, Elizabeth Harney, Duke University Press
        In Search of Africa, Manthia Diawara, Harvard University Press

Seminars will take place in the Institute for the Humanities, lower level, Stevenson Hall, and are open to faculty and advanced graduate students. Preregistration is highly recommended. To preregister, please contact Linda Vavra, 996-6354,