“War, Modernity and Aspirations: Exploring 20th Century
Imperial Ethiopia through
Witnesses’ Words and Images”

A presentation by Yemane Demissie (Undergraduate Department of Film & Television, Tisch School of the Arts-NYU) and Q&A with Manthia Diawara (Comparative Literature and Cinema Studies-NYU)

Filmmaker Yemane Demissie’s forthcoming social-history documentary series, The Quantum Leapers: Ethiopia 1916-1975, focuses on the buoyant and tumultuous experiences of Ethiopians during the reign of Emperor Haile Selassie I. Synthesizing imagery and narratives from more than 500 interviews and thousands of photographs unearthed from the interviewees’ collections and dozens of international archives, Demissie considers how the 1935-1941 Italo-Ethiopian War and Occupation compelled the country to reevaluate its age-old traditions in the face of war and modernity. At this presentation, Demissie uses the airplane, long a symbol of modernity, to interlink the lives of four individuals who confront, embrace or glide with the sudden and immense changes brought about by the war, occupation and liberation. Demissie also examines the relevance of these African stories within the context of contemporary immigration and portrayal of people of color. Co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Africa and the African Diaspora (CSAAD) at NYU; Global Research Initiatives, Office of the Provost; Tisch Initiative for Creative Research.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 pm
Location: Silver Center, Jurow Lecture Hall,
100 Washington Square East Room 101A, 1st Floor

Please RSVP: nyuiaaa-cbvc-events@nyu.edu or (212) 998-IAAA (4222)
Please make sure to state the event name and date in your email

Yemane Demissie is an award-winning filmmaker and educator whose work includes two narrative features, Tumult and Dead Weight and two feature documentaries, Twilight Revelations: Episodes in the life & Times of Emperor Haile Selassie and Asni. He is a recipient of numerous honors including fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the American Academy in Berlin, American Film Institute (AFI) Independent Film & Video-maker Grant, and residencies at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center, the MacDowell Colony, Civitella Ranieri, Yaddo, the Bogliasco Foundation, and the Dora Maar House. Presently, Demissie is in post-production for The Quantum Leapers: Ethiopia 1916-1975, a social history documentary series about the Emperor Haile Selassie era. Demissie is a professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts where he teaches screenwriting, directing, cinema history, and narrative and documentary production courses in the Undergraduate Department of Film & Television. For his teaching, Demissie received the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sony Electronics Faculty Awards.

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 & Center for Black Visual Culture.  He has 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 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. Diawara’s notable films include: An Opera of the World (2017), 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) and Rouch In Reverse (1995).

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