The philosopher, essayist and cultural theorist Édouard Glissant is considered a forerunner of thinking on globalization and a world of diversity and interrelations. The documentary film “Un Monde en Relation“ by Manthia Diawara accompanies the late Glissant, who died last year, as he speaks about the poetry of relations. It compiles a mosaic of conversations between the philosopher and the filmmaker on their sea voyage to Glissant’s native Martinique as they explore our understanding of relation. In the interviews, Glissant clarifies his theory of globality as a continual process of relating.
Édouard Glissant – Un Monde en Relation (One World in Relation)
D: Manthia Diawara
USA/Mali 2010, 52 min, French with English subtitles
Relation is a space which does not relate this with that, rather everything with everything – that was how Édouard Glissant described his poetry of diversity. Like no other, his essays developed a Utopian view of our world of diversity beyond homogenizing interventions – a nomadic and connecting way of thinking in an archipelago of differences. Following the screening of the documentary, film expert and director Manthia Diawara and the Kenyan writer and essayist Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩmaker discuss the collaborative cosmos opened up for contemporary south-south and other relations by Glissant’s thought.
Discussion with Manthia Diawara (USA/Mali) and Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ (USA/Kenya), Moderated by: Barbara Wahlster
Manthia Diawara is a writer, film producer, cultural theorist and art historian. He was born in 1953 in Mali and now lives in New York, where he is Director of the Institute of Afro-American Affairs at New York University. His dissertation on the topic of politics and aesthetics in African cinema laid the groundwork for his further research, with which he has made a significant contribution to “Black Studies”. His publications include “Black American Cinema” (Routledge: 1993), “We won’t Budge: An African Exile in the World”(Basic Civitas Books, 2003), “African Film: New Forms of Aesthetics and Politics” (Prestel, 2010) among others.
Mũkoma wa Ngũgĩ was born in America in 1971, grew up in Kenya and returned to the US to study political sciences and creative writing. He now lives in Norwalk, Connecticut. He writes journalistic columns, monographs and poetry. His best-known works include “Nairobi Heat” (Penguin, 2009) and his novel manuscript “The First and Second Books of Transition”, for which he was short-listed for the Penguin Prize for African Writing. He has published articles in various magazines such as World Literature Review or Black Commentator and writes popular columns for the Guardian and the BBC. In the fall of 2012 he is due to take up a post as Junior Professor of English, specializing in English-language African Literature of the 20th Century, at Cornwell University in New York.
Barbara Wahlster has worked for many years as a freelance writer, journalist and critic. She has frequently been published by international magazines, has translated works from French, completed lengthy stays abroad for research purposes and has also been involved in development and aid work. Alongside Theresia Birkenhauer and Barbara Hahn, she co-edited the collection of essays, “Theater-Theorie. Zwischen Szene und Sprache” (Vorwerk 8, 2008). She was Max-Kade Visiting Professor at Vanderbilt-University in Nashville, USA and now heads up the Literature department at Deutschlandradio Kultur.