Framing Biopolitics: Jo Ramaka's Cinema of Power
Dr. Akinwumi Adesokan, Indiana University
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.