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France and its others

Through an examination of selected twentieth- and twenty-first century literary and theoretical texts, this module aims to explore the ways in which France has defined itself in relation to a series of ‘others’, mainly from its former colonial empire in the Caribbean and in Sub-Saharan Africa.  First, the module will explore France's relationship with Western and Equatorial Africa (Senegal, Mali, Ivory Coast, Burkina-Fasso, Cameroon and the Congo) and assess why these independent and sovereign states have not quite managed to sever the links (economic, psychological and intellectual) with their former 'métropole'. Second, the module will examine France’s relationship with her oldest colonies, the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. As départements d’outre-mer, these islands chose greater assimilation into the French nation over independence and thus occupy an uncertain position in the ‘postcolonial’ world.

Module Outline

Week 1 Introduction: Jean-Marc Moura, Littératures francophone et théorie postcoloniale (1999) [PPF]

Week 2  Valentin Mudimbe, The Invention of Africa: Gnosis, Philosophy and the Order of Knowledge (1988) [PPF]

Week 3 Jean Rouch, Jaguar (1967) [PPF]

Week 4 Ahmadou Kourouma, Allah n'est pas obligé (2000) [PPF]

Week 5 Djibril Diop Mambety, Hyènes (1992) [PPF]

Week 6 Reading Week

Week 7 Aimé Césaire, Cahier d'un retour au pays natal (1939) and Frantz Fanon, Peau noire, masques blancs (1951) [SH]

Week 8 Maryse Condé, En attendant le bonheur (1976) [SH]

Week 9 Edouard Glissant, extracts from Le Discours antillais (1981) and  Poetique de la Relation (1990); Jean Bernabé, Patrick Chamoiseau, Raphaël Confiant, Eloge de la créolité (1989) [SH]

Week 10 Patrick Chamoiseau, Solibo Magnifique (1988) [SH]