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Title:Toward 'a giving and a receiving': teaching Djibril Diop Mambéty's 'Touki Bouki'
Author:Snell, Heather
Periodical:Journal of African Cultural Studies (ISSN 1369-6815)
Geographic terms:Senegal
higher education
teaching methods
About person:Djibril Diop-Mambéty (1945-1998)ISNI
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/13696815.2013.849194
Abstract:This article argues that Djibril Diop Mambéty's film 'Touki Bouki' (Directed by Djibril Diop Mambéty, Perf. Magaye Niang, Mareme Niang, and Aminata Fall. Cinegrit, 1973) has the potential to disrupt colonialist modes of viewing and generate interest in the oftentimes innovative modes of cinematic expression coming out of Africa, in this case Senegal. It draws on two experiences teaching the film, one in an undergraduate course at a large Canadian research university and the other in a graduate course at a slightly smaller Canadian research university, to reflect on both the efficacy and implications of particular pedagogical approaches in the postcolonial classroom and the peculiar ways in which 'Touki Bouki' challenges viewers to reflect on how one's affective, national, and cultural affiliation impacts interpretation. Mambéty's film is satiric, self-reflexive, and deliberately digressive, features that point not only to a certain investment in the creative fusions of received cultural forms such as West African oral traditions and the European films that circulated in Senegal throughout the 1960s and 1970s but also to an attempt to position viewers as 'givers' as much as 'receivers' - that is, as subjects who must do considerable work to piece together the plot and tease out the meaning of juxtaposed images. If nothing else, 'Touki Bouki' necessitates and can even be said to provoke active spectatorship; in so doing, it provides an invaluable entry point into discussions about African cinemas in the larger contexts of colonialism, postcolonialism, neocolonialism, globalization, and transculturation. Bibliogr., notes, .sum. [Journal abstract]