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Aboubakar Sanogo received his M.A. and Ph.D. from the School of Cinematic Arts of the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. He is cross-appointed with the Institute of African Studies (IAS), the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Culture (ICSLAC) and the Curatorial Studies Program. He is currently Graduate Supervisor of the Film Studies Program.
Professor Sanogo’s work is located both inside and outside academia and seeks to intervene in both spaces in a mutually transformative manner. It involves research, teaching, film curation, policy making, and institution building. His research interests include African and Afro-diasporic cinemas, documentary film theory, history and form, transnational and world cinemas, film preservation and restoration, colonial cinema, early and silent cinema, and film festival studies. He is currently working on completing two manuscripts, The History of Documentary in Africa and The Indocile Image: The Cinema of Med Hondo, and an edited collection on the cinema of Med Hondo.
Since his arrival at Carleton, Aboubakar Sanogo has taught undergraduate and graduate courses on Africa cinema, documentary film theory, history and aesthetics, cinema and human rights, the cinemas of Billy Wilder and Steven Soderbergh, the history of world cinema, and film festivals and world cinema. He also organized and taught a study-abroad course entitled African Cinema on Location, held in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
As an established film curator, Aboubakar Sanogo has curated film programs domestically and internationally, including for the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Cinematheque, the Pan-African Film Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO), the Il Cinema Ritrovato Film Festival in Bologna, Italy and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. In 2017, he was invited to be a member of the international jury at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK).
At Carleton, he curated a retrospective of the cinema of Mauritanian filmmaker Med Hondo entitled The Indocile Image: The Cinema of Med Hondo, which included the first-ever symposium on the director’s work, and the first Canadian retrospective of the cinema of René Vautier entitled Citizen Vautier: Cinema in the Age of Decolonization: Activism and Aesthetics-An Homage to René Vautier (1928-2015).
Sanogo is the founder of Carleton University’s World Cinema Forum and of the annual African Film Festival of Ottawa (AFFO). He is also the North American Regional Secretary for the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers (FEPACI), Africa’s most important filmmakers’ organization. In this capacity, Aboubakar Sanogo is currently working on the African Film Heritage Project (AFHP), a partnership between FEPACI, Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which seeks to preserve and restore 50 African films of historical, cultural and artistic significance.
Sanogo has also organized and taken part in master classes with world-renowned and emerging directors, including John Akomfrah, Patricio Guzman, Idrissa Ouedraogo, Fanta Nacro, and Gaston Kabore. View Aboubakar Sanogo’s master class with Med Hondo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TA_cH-Bou2g&t=236s
Sanogo has given invited talks at the National Gallery of Art (Washington DC), the Wexner Art Center (Columbus, Ohio), FESPACO (Ouagadougou), the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto), the Nelson-Atkins Museum (Kansas City).
View Aboubakar Sanogo’s guest lecture at the Cineteca di Bologna: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNxI96eGMGg&list=PLx3uAGILdftAgDkjgyYnA-WJGCQqW8sg2&index=22
View Aboubakar Sanogo’s appearance at TIFF Higher Learning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oymi18Tn6XY
Over the years, Aboubakar Sanogo has received a SSHRC Insight Grant, a Smithsonian Institution Fellowship and a Ford Foundation Fellowship. He is co-researcher in the Technes Research project, a SSHRC Funded international research partnership.
Select Academic Publications:
“Africa in the World of Moving Image Archiving: Challenges and Opportunities in the Twenty-First Century.” Forthcoming in the Journal of Film Preservation
“Images/Imaginings/Imaginaries: Historicizing Contemporary African Cinema at the Turn of the Third Millennium.” Forthcoming in the Ninth Volume of UNESCO’s General History of Africa, a project initiated by founders of African historiography including the late Joseph Ki-Zerbo and Cheikh Anta Diop.
“The Indocile Image: Cinema and History in Med Hondo’s Soleil O and Les Bicots-Nègres, Vos Voisins” in Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice. 19:4, 2015:548-568 “Studying African Cinema and Media Today.” Cinema Journal, 54, No.2, Winter 2015:114-119
“Certain Tendencies in Contemporary Auteurist film Practice in African Cinema.” Cinema Journal, 54, No.2, Winter 2015: 140-149
“Reconsidering the Sembenian Project: Towards Aesthetics of Change.” Published in Ukadike, Frank (ed.). Critical Approaches to African Cinema Discourse. Lanham (MD): Lexington Books, 2014, pp. 209-226.
“Museums Also Die: The Musée du Quai Branly and the Mask of the Contemporary” in Moving Image Review and Art Journal. No. 2.1 (2013): 91-96
“Shokuminchi teki shikakusei no keisu sutadi–Bantu kyoiku eiga jikken.” Ecce. No. 3. Tokyo: Shinwasha, 2012, pp. 104-138.
“Colonialism, Visuality and the Cinema: Revisiting the Bantu Educational Kinema Experiment” in Grieveson, Lee and Colin McCabe (eds.). Empire and Film. London: Palgrave McMillan, 2011, pp. 227-245.
“Regarding Cinephilia in Africa.” Framework: The Journal of Cinema and Media. 50.1 & 2 (2009): 226-228.
Aboubakar Sanogo has also contributed articles, reviews and interviews to The Africa Report and Sight and Sound (https://www.bfi.org.uk/news-opinion/sight-sound-magazine/comment/obituaries/idrissa-ouedraogo-burkinabe-master-political-poetic).
Select Press and Media
Aboubakar Sanogo’s work is the subject of frequent press coverage, including television, radio, newspapers and the online press. These include:
“Colonialism, Visuality and the Cinema: Revisiting the Bantu Educational Kinema Experiment” in Empire and Films, eds. Lee Grieveson and Colin McCabe. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011: 227-245
“Regarding Cinephilia and Africa” in Framework, vol 50, nos 1&2, spring &fall 2009: 226-228
Smithsonian Institution (National Museum of African Art), three major film series : “ Great African Films of the 90s’ (1998), The Cinema of Cote d’Ivoire (1999) and South African Cinema: Past, Present and Future” (1999)
Smithsonian Institution (Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage): “Malian Cinema on the Mall” (2003)