Dr. James E. Genova gives talk on "Race and Empire in the Early History of African Cinema”

February 5, 2021

Dr. James E. Genova gives talk on "Race and Empire in the Early History of African Cinema”

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Genova event
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Dr. James E. Genova gave a research presentation on “Race And Empire In The Early History Of African Cinema”

Dr. Genova presented his research on African cinema on February 5th as a virtual event sponsored by the French and Italian Graduate Student Association/The Department of French and Italian.

Professor Genova explores the intersection of race and imperialism in the formative period of African cinema during the 1950s and 1960s. Through an analysis of colonial film politics and the emergence of anti-colonial film politics, this lecture analyzes the unique ways in which the question of race informed cinematic practices at that critical historical moment. The paper will focus on the ways in which France attempted to establish the parameters for African participation in the cinema industrial complex and the mechanisms whereby Africans and their allies in France challenged and ultimately subverted those limitations. The talk will look at specific examples films such as Robert Delavignette’s “Paysans noirs,” Rene Vautier’s “Afrique 50,” Alain Resnais’ et al. “Les statues meurent aussi,” Paulin Vieyra’s “Afrique sur Seine,” Ousmane Sembène’s “La noire de …,” and Med Hondo’s “Soleil Ô” to interrogate the dynamic whereby race became one of the terrains on which the struggle for liberation from colonialism was fought and how that structured some of the early features of an emergent African cinema.

Dr. Genova is a specialist in the history of modern Francophone West Africa. His research interests include cultural history, African cinema, post-colonialism, imperialism and decolonization,  identity formation, globalization, and processes of social change. He is the author of two books, several journal articles and book chapters, as well as multiple book reviews. Dr. Genova's primay research sites include Senegal, Burkina Faso, and France. He is a member of the History Department at OSU and is a member of the Film Studies core faculty.