search the africa institute site

Associate Professor of Comparative Literature

Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, Cornell University, U.S.A

Naminata Diabate is an Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Cornell University. She is a member of the core faculty in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (FGSS), and affiliated faculty in the Department of Literatures in English; Romance Studies; Africana Studies and Research Center (ASRC); Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies (LGBT); Performing and Media Arts (PMA); and Visual Studies. She is also a former Ali A. Mazrui Senior Fellow at The Africa Institute, Sharjah, UAE (2021-2023). 

A scholar of African and African diaspora studies and neoliberalism, biopolitics, sexuality and gender studies with linguistic expertise in Malinké, French, English, Nouchi, Spanish, and Latin, her work seeks to redefine how we understand specific forms of embodied agency in the neoliberal present in global Africa. Diabate engages multiple cultural productions and oral traditions from Francophone and Anglophone Africa, black America, Afro-Hispanic America, and the French Antilles. Her most recent provocations on defiant disrobing, pleasure, freedom, and the impact of Internet media on queerness have appeared in a monograph, peer-reviewed journals, collections of essays, and podcasts. Diabate's book, Naked Agency: Genital Cursing and Biopolitics in Africa (Duke 2020), was awarded the African Studies Association (ASA) 2021 Best Book Prize and the African Literature Association (ALA) 2022 First Book Award.

The Africa Report recently listed Naminata Diabate among the Top 10 African Scholars to Watch in 2024.

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

Cornell University, U.S.A
Next up Mamadou Diouf