Boulou Ebanda B'béri's films include Looking for My Pygmalion: Mémoires , a documentary film about being black, and exploring racial issues in Quebec. He has been a visiting scholar and professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Northeastern University, Boston. He won the 2003 Van Horne Prize , and is the author of articles on African Cinema and Cultural Studies, including his 2000 edited volume of the Journal of Film Studies, Écritures dans les cinémas d’Afrique noire, .
His research deals with the impact of oral tradition in black cinema, the materiality of images and the modality of knowledge transmission in intercultural milieu, and the articulations of identity-politics in various independent cinemas. Promised Land: The Freedom Experience of Blacks in the Chatham and Dawn Settlements
SSHRC Strategic Grant: Community University Research Alliance. (2007-2012)
In the mid- 19th century, more than 28% of Chatham’s and Dawn Settlement’s population were of African descent, compared to circa 21% in Windsor, and only 2.2% in Toronto. However, in academic histories and in much of the popular understanding of this early migration of blacks to Canada, emphasis has been given to the Underground Railroad narrative of escape from slavery; this is, however, only a part of a much larger and complex story. The Promised Land project addresses this problem of “historical amnesia”. The project brings together an organic, interdisciplinary team of community and university researchers, whose goal is to recover, document, analyze, and disseminate the fullness, interconnectedness and significance of black history in the Promised Land communities. This national and international team will support the longstanding work of more than twenty front lines, diverse body of community organizations, by preserving and making accessible primary sources, by developing educational materials, by creating community projects in the arts and in public history, by furthering debates on the historical and contemporary manifestations of diversity in Canada and by encouraging new scholarship and teaching.
Rhyzomic Practices of Identity in Cinemas: A Comparative Study of Australian, Canadian and South African Independent Cinemas
SSHRC Standard Research Grant(2007-2010)'"
Research Questions I am attempting to elucidate are: (1) How can we make visible the ‘various' formations of identity by using the Independent cinemas of multicultural countries such as Australia, Canada and South Africa as object of analysis? and (2) How the deployment of parallel histories or “minority stories” in these three countries can inform us on: (a) crises of identity; (b) practices of identity; and (c) proliferations of identities, whether it be racial, ethnic, citizen or cultural?
This research objective is indeed to use the relatively recent historical context of Australia, Canada, and South Africa, making these 3-countries excellent sites for a comparative multicultural investigation to understand the ways in which their respective cinematic traditions represent cultural and racial diversities.
Audiovisual Media Lab for the studies of Cultures and Societies (AMLAC&S)
CFI/ORF New Initiative: Infrastructure Grant''' The AMLAC&S is a space dedicated to the research, documentation, and the creation of audiovisual productions that specifically target the cultural practices of communities or marginalized identity group formations such as blacks and Aboriginals people. The primary philosophy behind the AMLAC&S is to produce research material that exposes contributions made by cultural, ethnic and racial minorities through their specific cultural practices. This endeavor begins with the conceptualization of questions of citizenship within multicultural societies such as Canada.
Equipped with a working area endowed by the Faculty of Arts the AMLAC&S owns filming equipments (digital cameras, one sound recording system and one lighting kit) and non-linear Final Cut Pro program mounted on five Apple Pro computers. The AMLAC&S also owns its own server for storing and public access of audiovisual data and other research databases.