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Black France

Colonialism, Immigration, and Transnationalism

Dominic Thomas

Publication Year: 2007

"[W]ithout a doubt one of the most important studies so far completed on literature in French grounded in the experiences of migrants of sub-Saharan African origin." -- Alec Hargreaves, Florida State University

France has always hosted a rich and vibrant black presence within its borders. But recent violent events have raised questions about France's treatment of ethnic minorities. Challenging the identity politics that have set immigrants against the mainstream, Black France explores how black expressive culture has been reformulated as global culture in the multicultural and multinational spaces of France. Thomas brings forward questions such as -- Why is France a privileged site of civilization? Who is French? Who is an immigrant? Who controls the networks of production? Black France poses an urgently needed reassessment of the French colonial legacy.

Published by: Indiana University Press

Front Matter

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xvi

In 2002, Indiana University Press published my Nation-Building, Propaganda, and Literature in Francophone Africa.That work was concerned with questions of nationalism and the importance of adhering to the nation-state as a prerequisite for the assumption of sovereignty and autonomy from colonial rule, and its central focus was an exploration of the ...

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Note on Translations

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pp. xvii-xviii

Material included in this book that originally appeared in French has been given in the English of published translations when these were available. Otherwise, translations are my own. In some places the meaning of the original French seemed self-evident or its significance critical.

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ONE. Introduction: Black France in Transcolonial Contexts

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pp. 1-40

Whether one is satisfied or not with the terminological pertinence of globalizationor the use of the French term mondialisation to designate the nature of human relations at the beginning of the twenty-first century, the fact nevertheless remains that cultural, economic, political, and social discourse is infused with conflicting interpretations of the constitutive or divisive ...

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TWO. Francocentrism and the Acquisition of Cultural Capital

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pp. 41-81

The return to the colonial era as a point of entry to recent debates on questions of immigration and national identity in contemporary France seems a necessary gesture. Such a return offers the opportunity to carefully delineate the advantages of a transcolonial approach, but, more importantly, to relocate the origins of immigration discourse and migratory ...

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THREE. Textual Ownership and the Global Mediation of Blackness

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pp. 82-113

Colonialism and the accompanying violence of Western language literacy, which was indissociable from the pedagogic mechanisms of the French imperial ambition, have left indelible marks on francophone literary production. In fact, francophone writers have by definition been compelled to mediate their aesthetic and political projects through a linguistic domain...

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FOUR. Rhetorical Mediations of Slavery

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pp. 114-130

Multiple and varied usages have been made of the term “globalization,” yet it nevertheless provides a useful discursive space for the exploration of complex cultural, social, and political phenomena. “The current phase of the world economy is characterized by significant discontinuities with the preceding periods and radically new arrangements, ”Saskia Sassen has ...

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FIVE. Afro-Parisianism and African Feminisms

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pp. 131-154

As I embark upon this chapter, in which I propose to deal with complex feminist issues in writings by selected African women, but more specifically with the controversial issue of female excision, I am further reminded of the importance of Adrienne Rich’s 1984 essay “Notes toward a Politics of Location.” 2 As a European critic working in the United States, I have ...

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SIX. Fashion Matters: La sape and Vestimentary Codes in Transnational Contexts and Urban Diasporas

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pp. 155-184

When one thinks of various colonial centers and their respective architectural and geopolitical spaces that constituted the peripheries of empire, associations with France remain indissociable from its capital city, Paris. The focus of this chapter is provided by a discussion of the symbiotic relationship between Paris as a narrative construct in the minds of its former ...

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SEVEN. African Youth in the Global Economy

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pp. 185-205

Migration to the French metropole has been a constant feature of francophone sub-Saharan African literature from colonial times to the contemporary moment of postcoloniality. Naturally, this phenomenon can be located in a much broader transhistorical economic and political framework in which the displacement of populations has been a common denominator ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 206-212

Black France has underlined the importance of the racial signifier as a way of validating ethnicity as a category of inquiry and in order to counter and negate the French authorities’ historical inclination to address immigration issues in the Hexagon through an undifferentiated paradigm. Accordingly, the framework adopted in Black France has insisted on the importance ...

Notes

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pp. 213-260

Bibliography

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pp. 261-292

Index

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pp. 293-305


E-ISBN-13: 9780253112217
E-ISBN-10: 0253112214
Print-ISBN-13: 9780253348210

Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2007