“Edouard Glissant: One World in Relation”
Manthia Diawara's movie screening
Edouard Glissant, photo by Yves Billy
In 2009, Manthia Diawara – Malian wrtier, filmmaker and cultural theorist – with his camera, followed Edouard Glissant on the Queen Mary II in a cross-Atlantic journey from South Hampton (UK) to Brooklyn (New York).
This poetic meditation continued in Martinique, the native home of Edouard Glissant. The extraordinary voyages resulted in the production of an intellectual biography in which Glissant elaborates on his theory of Relation and the concept of “Tout-monde.” Edouard Glissant was one of the most important contemporary thinkers. In the 1980s, his theories of creolization, diversity and otherness, as elaborated in the book "Le Discours Antillais" (1981), were considered as seminal texts for the emerging studies of multiculturalism, identity politics, minority literature and Black Atlanticsim. Influenced by the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, he construed the history and geography of the Caribbean politically, demonstrating his revolt against racisms of any type and evoking the indelible mark of slavery on the relationship between France and Africa and all overseas territories.
In the 1990s and 2000, he developed a theory he called "Poétique de la relation," and "Tout-Monde," where the concept of "Relation" is perceived as an autonomous entity, moving between objects and providing them with energy, poesis and difference. In his book "Philosophie de la relation", Glissant used the concept to meditate on the new meanings of globalization, chaos, violence, equality and justice.
Manthia Diawara presently holds the chair of University Professor at New York University. He is also Professor of Comparative Literature and film, and director of the Institute of African American Affairs at New York University. He has received grants from the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, ARTE /ZDF, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. He has published articles on literature, film, and art in scholarly and popular magazines. Manthia Diawara is the founder and editor of “Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire,” a bilingual review that publishes essays, fiction, reviews and artwork relating to Africa and the Black Diaspora. He has published several books on Black culture, film, and literature. Selected bibliography: “African Cinema: Politics and Culture” (Indiana, 1992), “Black American Cinema” (Routledge, 1993), “In Search of Africa” (Harvard, 1998) / En Quête d’Afrique (Présence Africaine, 2001), “We Won’t Budge” (Basic Books, 2003) / Bamako, Paris, New York (Présence Africaine, 2007), “African Film: New Forms of Aesthetics and Politics” (Prestel Press, 2010). Filmography: “Sembene Ousmane: The Making of African Cinema” (1993, 54 min), “Rouch in Reverse” (1995, 51 min), “In Search of Africa” (1999, 19 min), “Diaspora Conversation” (2000, 47 min), “Bamako Sigi Kan” (2002, 76 min), “Conakry-Kas” (2005, Grand Prix du documentaire: FESPACO’05 and ZIFF’05), “Who’s Afraid of Ngugi Wa Thiongo” (2006), “Maison Tropicale” (Portugal/USA, 2008), “Edouard Glissant: A World in Relation” (2010, France/USA, 52 min)