Living Precariously in the African Postcolony: Debt Relations in Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s Daratt
Tuesday, 14 November 2017, 4-5 p.m.
Glasscock Center Library, 311 Glasscock Building
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Carmela Garritano is an associate professor of Africana Studies and Film Studies and author of African Video Movies and Global Desires: A Ghanaian History (Ohio University Press), a 2013 Choice Outstanding Academic Title and winner of the African Literature Association Best First Book award. Appearing in 2018 is A Companion to African Cinema (Wiley-Blackwell), which she co-edited with Kenneth W. Harrow. Her research has been supported by Fulbright IIE and the West African Research Association, and her writing has been published, or is forthcoming, in African Studies Review, Black Camera, Cinema Journal, Critical Arts, The Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, and Research in African Literatures, among other places
Abstract: Labor has figured centrally in African cinema since the early films of Sembene Ousmane. Yet, little scholarly work has examined labor as thematized or represented in African film, and even fewer studies have detailed the labor processes involved in its production, distribution, and promotion. The larger book project from which this paper is taken — tentatively titled Labor, Time, and Affect: 21C African Cinema and Screen Media — reads recent African film and media through labor. The chapter on the films of Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, a portion of which is presented here, shows that Haroun’s films direct attention toward the experience of feeling postcolonial precarity. Set in Chad, Haroun’s films focus intensely on the subjective damage inflicted by globalization processes and shifting configurations of labor under the current regime of neoliberal capitalism. This short article discusses Haroun’s feature-film Daratt as a reflection on labor relations and debt in the African postcolony.
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