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Preface and Acknowledgments 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 relationship between literature and the state in francophone Africa, the contributions of writers to the transition from colonialism to independence , and recent experimentation with democratization. The imperative was to offer a better understanding of the circumstances of African colonization through a more encompassing view of the role literature had played in African history, decolonization, and the complex process of forging modern nation-states. As I analyzed the disorientation that had resulted from colonial and postcolonial rule, the collapse of the nationstate , and the emergence of generations of young, alienated, and disenfranchised individuals, my own research gradually became more engaged with broader contextual frameworks that would allow me to account for these developments. In Black France, attention has shifted in order to explore the failure of the nationalist imperative and the resulting impact on African societies and populations of the dissolution and disintegration of state structures. Through a supranational and comparative framework that incorporates writers from Cameroon, Congo, Djibouti, France, Gabon, Guinea, the Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal, and Togo, Black France explores those transnational constituencies that have emerged from colonialism and immigration, and engages with anthropological, sociological, francophone, Diaspora, postcolonial, and transnational/transcolonial studies, offering new ways of thinking about the symbiotic dimension of relations and population flows between France and the francophone world. I insisted in Nation-Building, Propaganda, and Literature in Francophone Africa that a multidisciplinary approach was necessary in order to account for the complex circumstances of decolonization, and, in much the same way, one can only begin to achieve an accurate understanding of transnational cultural productions and global population movements through cultural, economic, historical, political, and sociological contextualizations . Francophone sub-Saharan African literature shares many points of commonality with the Maghrebi context: in both cases, literature has been produced in “Africa in France” by the children of immigrants (in the case of the Maghreb it is known as Beur literature and exemplified by authors such as Azouz Begag, Farida Belghoul, Mehdi Charef, and Soraya Nini, among others), but also by writers who live or publish in France but who do not self-identify as immigrants (such as Tahar Ben Jelloun, Ahmadou Kourouma, Henri Lopes, and Tierno Monenembo ). Similarly, these writers intersect with their counterparts who currently reside in or have lived in other regions of Europe, such as Belgium (Bessora), Britain (Chris Abani, Diran Adebayo, Biyi Bandele-Thomas, Bernardine Evaristo, Ben Okri, Helen Oyeyemi, Zadie Smith), Germany (Senouvo Agbota Zinzou, Théo Ananissoh), and Italy (Pap Khouma). Black France attempts to reframe African, francophone, and postcolonial studies by adopting a transcolonial theoretical model—one that insists upon considering francophone sub-Saharan African literatures across history rather than as sociocultural products symbolically demarcated into colonial and postcolonial categories by political independence around 1960. Colonial-era literatures, rather than being categorized exclusively as the pioneering canon of sub-Saharan African literature, are shown to operate in a reciprocal context that was always already analogous to that of contemporary authors. When it is demonstrated that francophone colonial sub-Saharan African texts operate symbiotically with hexagonal historiography, the constitutive nature of literary production that emerges complicates French and European debates on identity, but also paradoxically questions the cultural and demographic singularity of France and Europe. Naturally, this book builds on the pioneering studies of Michel Fabre (From Harlem to Paris: Black American Writers in France, 1840–1980), Tyler Stovall (Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Lights), Bennetta Jules-Rosette (Black Paris: The African Writer’s Landscape), and Pascal Blanchard, Eric Deroo, and Gilles Manceron (Le Paris noir), and those of Christopher L. Miller (Nationalists and Nomads: Essays on Francophone African Literature and Culture), Brent Hayes Edwards (The Practice of Diaspora), Paul Gilroy (The Black Atlantic), F. Abiola Irele (The African Imagination: Literature in Africa and the Black Diaspora), Manthia Diawara (In Search of Africa), Mireille Rosello (Postcolonial Hospitality : The Immigrant as Guest), and Alec G. Hargreaves (Voices from the North African Immigrant Community in France: Immigration and Identity in Beur Fiction). In turn, Black France explores the bilateralism and transversal nature of African and French relations. It acknowledges the centrality of Paris but also broadens and decenters the symbolic territory to...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780253112217
Related ISBN
9780253348210
MARC Record
OCLC
166229270
Pages
328
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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