We Won't Budge by Manthia Diawara
An African Exile In The World

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In this deeply personal and unflinchingly honest exploration of what it means to be African, Manthia Diawara recounts the bittersweet experience of an expatriate who no longer lives life as an "African" yet is the object of others' fantasies and fears about people of the dark continent. Comparing his fortunes in America with those of his cousins in Paris, Diawara assesses the way tradition and community give meaning to their lives, despite the ugliness of modern French attitudes toward Africans. At the same time, he confronts the trauma experienced by Africans in America such as Amadou Diallo. Diawara's experience of life as an African and an African American yields fresh and stunning insights about race, ethnic identity, immigration, and assimilation in the modern globalized world.This important and original book will shatter many cherished notions about what it means to experience race as an African in the world today. Beautifully written and shrewdly argued, its unsentimental view of African culture and traditions, as well as its debunking of the idealized promise of an unracialized life abroad, is certain to ignite debate.

About Manthia Diawara

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Manthia Diawara is the Director of the Africana Studies Program and the Institute of African American Affairs at New York University, where he is also a Professor of Comparative Literature and Cinema Studies. He is the editor of several books on black culture and history, including Black Genius (with Walter Mosley and Clyde Taylor), and the author of African Cinema and In Search of Africa. He lives in New York City.
Published May 22, 2003 by Basic Civitas Books. 288 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences, Travel. Non-fiction

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Diawara also faults Africa’s extended-family system, which “locks people into conformity, saps the individual’s energies and resources, and prevents him from having a private life or accumulating fortunes necessary for the development of societies and industries.” He deplores the fact that Africa...

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Diawara's account of what he sees as the systemic racisms of France and the United States derives its descriptive power not only from a residue of sometimes bitter personal experience but from an unwillingness to let that experience blind him to the ways in which that racism can be internalized o...

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Project MUSE

In his latest book, We Won't Budge: An African Exile in the World (2003), Manthia Diawara provides a multifaceted assessment of African modernity, a theme at the forefront of all his major works, such as the documentary film Rouch in Reverse (1995) or In Search of Africa (1998).

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