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Rachel Gabara
University of Georgia (Athens, GA 30602-0001)
Realism and African Documentary Film, 1905 to the Present

Research and writing leading to publication of a book-length study of documentary films in sub-Saharan Africa, from 1905 to the present.

In my current book project, “Reclaiming Realism: From Documentary Film in Africa to African Documentary Film,” I analyze postcolonial African documentary film in its aesthetic, social, and historical contexts. For over half a century, French colonial documentary claimed to capture the truth about Africa and Africans. In the postcolonial era, African filmmakers have reclaimed the cinema and their cinematic image by experimenting with documentary content, voice, and style. I argue that documentary was of vital importance to French colonialism as well as to a postcolonial reframing of African identities and modes of filmic discourse. My study of documentary, moreover, demonstrates how the inclusion of African films enriches our understanding of global cinema. The NEH Summer Stipend will support a final trip to Paris, France, to update the research for the postcolonial portion of my manuscript.

Project fields:
African Studies; Film History and Criticism; French Language

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2018 – 7/31/2018