|Born||December 19, 1953
|Occupation||Writer, filmmaker, theorist, professor, producer|
|Genres||Film, history, literature, theory, art history|
|Subjects||Africana Studies, Film Studies, Comparative Literature, Art History|
Manthia Diawara is a Malian writer, filmmaker, cultural theorist, scholar, and art historian. Diawara holds the distinguished title of University Professor at New York University, where he is Director of the Institute of Afro-American Affairs.
Diawara was born in Bamako, Mali and received his early education in France. He later received a Ph.D. from Indiana University in 1985. Prior to teaching at NYU, Diawara taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California at Santa Barbara.
Much of his research has been in the field of black cultural studies, though his work has differed from the traditional approach to such study formulated in Britain in the early 1980s. Along with other notable recent scholars, Diawara has sought to incorporate consideration of the material conditions of African-Americans to provide a broader context for the study of African diasopric culture. An aspect of this formulation has been the privileging of "Blackness" in all its possible forms rather than as relevant to a single, perhaps monolithic definition of black culture.
Diawara has contributed significantly to the study of black film. In 1992, Indiana University Press published his African Cinema: Politics & Culture and in 1993, Routledge published a volume he edited titled Black-American Cinema. A filmmaker himself, Diawara has written and directed a number of films.
Diawara is the editor-in-chief of Black Renaissance Noire, a journal of arts, culture, and politics dedicated to work that engages contemporary Black concerns. He serves on the advisory board of October, and is also on the editorial collective of Public Culture.
Jury Member, The National Black Programming Consortium, Inc., Columbus, OH, 1992, 1989; Jury Member, The Paul Robeson Award, The Pan-African Film Festival of Ouagadougou, 1987; NAACP Top of the Mountain Award, 1998.