“Framing Biopolitics: Jo Ramaka's Cinema of Power”

Akinwumi Adesokan, Indiana University

Monday, February 27, 2012
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
10383 Bunche Hall
10th floor
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Preoccupation with power, the structural capability to exercise control and dispense violence across the social realm, is a defining feature of the work of Senegalese filmmaker, poet, and playwright, Joseph Gaï Ramaka. This lecture focuses on an important aspect of this work, namely, the challenges that the social poses to a poetic imagination, and how, in institutional terms, those challenges are intimately connected to the idea of censorship, both as the disciplinary response of the sovereign to art and as the effect of a process for which no one can be held accountable. Looking at some of Ramaka’s films, especially Ainsi soit-Il (So Be It, 1997), in relation to biopolitical practices in West Africa, the lecture explores the social as the ground of the collusion of authoritarianism and neoliberal globalization, and censorship as their mutual, reactionary instrument in relation to art.

Akin Adesokan is associate professor of Comparative Literature at Indiana University, Bloomington. His books include Roots in the Sky, a novel (2004), and Postcolonial Artists and Global Aesthetics (2011). He has recently published essays and fictions in Research in African Literatures, Chimurenga, AGNI, Social Dynamics, Textual Practice, and Screen.


Monday African Seminar Series (MAAS)

UCLA African Studies Center, Co-sponsored by the Mellon Postdoctural Program "Cultures in Transnational Perspectives."

Faculty Coordinators: Francoise Lionnet

MASS Winter 2012

What does African cinema contribute to a better understanding of global aesthetics and to film studies in general? What is specific about the field of African visual media and what are some of the new conceptual and interpretive issues that confront its scholars today? The series showcases the work of three critics who will take turn focusing on questions of memory and trauma (Sheila Petty), fantasy and science fiction (Jude Akudinobi), power, control, and biopolitics (Akin Adesokan).

The historical and the social, gender and the environment, and the serious new challenges posed to the poetic imagination by neoliberal authoritarianism are some of the topics that will be explored. This is a unique opportunity to learn more about established and emerging filmmakers, from Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, Angola, and Kenya, who draw from rich multilingual traditions and challenge viewers to rethink their relation to global genres.

Monday, February 6, 10367 Bunche Hall

“Sites of Memory in Sub-Saharan African Cinema”
Sheila Petty, University of Regina

Tuesday, February 21, 10383 Bunche Hall.

"Expanding Horizons: Pumzi, Science Fiction and African Cinema"
Jude G. Akudinobi, UC Santa Barbara

Thursday, February, 23, 6275 Bunche Hall 

“The Arte Wave”
Manthia Diawara, NYU 

Monday, February 27, 10383 Bunche Hall

“Framing Biopolitics: Jo Ramaka's Cinema of Power”
Akinwumi Adesokan, Indiana University

Monday, March 12, 10383 Bunche Hall

"Azmari in Hollywood"
Leelai Demoz, Filmmaker 


Cost : Free and open to the public; pay-by-space and all-day parking ($11) available in lot 3.

For more information please contact:

UCLA African Studies CenterTel: 310-825-3686



Sponsor(s): African Studies Center, Co-sponsored by the Mellon Postdoctoral Program "Cultures in Transnational Perspective."