Naminata Diabate’s work seeks to redefine how we understand specific forms of embodied agency in the neoliberal present in global Africa. She is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Cornell University and a scholar of African and African diaspora studies and sexuality and gender studies with linguistic expertise in Malinké, French, English, Nouchi, Spanish and Latin.

She is a member of the core faculty in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies (FGSS), and affiliated faculty in Romance Studies; Africana Studies and Research Center (ASRC); Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies; Performing and Media Arts; and Visual Studies.

Diabate engages multiple sites, including novels of 20th and 21st centuries, online and social media, pictorial arts, film, journalism and oral traditions from Africa, black America, Afro-Hispanic America, and the French Antilles. She is the author of Naked Agency: Genital Cursing and Biopolitics in Africa (Duke University Press, 2020), which won the African Studies Association 2021 Best Book Prize.

Diabate contributes regularly to several media outlets, including newspapers, women’s magazines and podcasts. Recently, she wrote for the women’s magazine Voix/Voie de Femme in Côte d’Ivoire, and was featured in PBS’s Academic Minute, The New Books in Women’s History podcast, the South African Podcast, Sound Africa, BBC World Service’s The Comb podcast.

Diabate holds a PhD in Comparative Literature with dual concentrations in African Diaspora Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies from the University at Texas at Austin (2011).

Born in Cote d'Ivoire, she currently teaches and lives in the United States.

SAF participation:
March Meeting 2022