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FR329 Slavery and After: Writing the Francophone Caribbean

Module Code: FR329
Module Name: Slavery and After: Writing the Francophone Caribbean
Module Coordinator: Professor Pierre-Philippe Fraiture
Not running 2024-25
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

The Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe have been French for longer than Calais or Strasbourg and, as ‘overseas departments’, are still integral parts of the French nation. Their inhabitants have been fully-fledged French citizens since 1946, yet their ancestors were enslaved in Africa and shipped to the Caribbean to be set to work in the most inhumane of conditions by the French. By 1848, when slave rebellions and the work of French abolitionists, along with the revolutionary discourse of 'liberté, égalité, fraternité', finally made slavery untenable in the 'pays des droits de l'homme', Victor Schœlcher was sent to the Caribbean to announce that France was liberating her slaves from servitude, and the French colonial 'mission civilisatrice' began. During the course of this module, we will explore the paradoxes that have arisen from this history, examining what it means to be French when you live thousands of kilometres from France, and what it means to be Caribbean when your island is so culturally and linguistically French. We will begin by looking at the history of colonisation and slavery in the French Caribbean and then we will study twentieth- and twenty-first-century writing from both islands - texts which all deal, in one way or another, with the continuing legacies of slavery today.

Primary Texts

  • Aimé Césaire, Cahier d’un retour au pays natal (1939)
  • Frantz Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs (1952) [Extracts]
  • Patrick Chamoiseau, L'Esclave vieil homme et le molosse (1997)
  • Maryse Condé, Victoire, les saveurs et les mots (2008)
  • Daniel Maximin, L'Île et une nuit (1996)

Assessment Method: 

For 2021-2022:
100% coursework assessed by 4000-4500 word essay

Dr Pierre-Phillippe Fraiture

Professor Pierre-Philippe Fraiture

François-Auguste Biard, L’Abolition de l’esclavage dans les colonies françaises en 1848

Module Outline

Further Reading

Summative Essay Titles

Formative Essay Titles


The exam paper code for this module is FR4LBX