American Creoles: The Francophone Caribbean and the American South

American Creoles: The Francophone Caribbean and the American South

American Creoles: The Francophone Caribbean and the American South

American Creoles: The Francophone Caribbean and the American South

Excerpt

There is a curious relationship between the birth of an academic field and its death. In the manifestos and declaration of intent that mark the invention of a field there is often a recognition of its limitations and an intimation of its future demise. In some cases there is even a tacit challenge to bring about and hasten that expiration, or at least quickly to render the field’s initial manifestations and conceptual apparatus redundant. Such would seem to be the case with Francophone Postcolonial Studies, a field of study that itself came into being through the end of another, the Association for the Study of African and Caribbean Literature in French. From the first issues of the new society’s self-named journal, statements establishing the field and setting its parameters existed alongside self-reflexive critiques that questioned already the durability of many of its founding concepts (see, e.g., Assiba d’Almeida, 2003; Britton, 2003; Harrison, 2003).

This critical self-questioning has been an important and indeed salutary element in the subsequent development of the field. Key works edited by Charles Forsdick and David Murphy have primarily sought to prise open and ‘decolonize’ the terms ‘Francophone’ and ‘postcolonial’: through including France in their investigations of the former term they emphasize the complex, connected relationship between France and its former colonies; while by stressing the importance of French-language works to the postcolonial field more generally they seek to disrupt the almost exclusively anglophone focus of that discipline (Forsdick and Murphy, 2009: 4–5). One of the consequences of the rapid evolution of Francophone Postcolonial Studies and its distinctively self-reflexive nature is that its two constituent terms – Francophone . . .

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