ABSTRACT

The thought of making a film in Senegal came to me quite unpredictably after I had lived and taught there for three years. The time spent in Senegal and in several other West Mrican countries was partly marked by the almost routine encounter with the normative discourse of cultural expertism and of anthropology, whose authority made itself felt in the smallest daily events, whenever people talked about the culture-whether they were Mrican city dwellers (that is, insiders to the culture) or local outsiders (mostly foreign researchers, administrators,

businessmen, and technical assistants). Hence, the necessity immediately to question my own position as outsider and as a "hybrid insider" because, despite the differences, I recognize acutely the ethics and the experiences related to colonialism's aftermath, which I myself grew up with in Vietnam. If it was odd, as an insider, to read about oneself being offered up as a cultural entity by experts writing on Vietnamese culture, it was unsettling to look at oneself and others from the standpoint of an outsider-insider in Senegal. The encounter with Mrican cultures thus became a catalyst to think about questions of subjectivity and of power relations.