Qu’est-ce que la pensée francophone?

This course is a comparative study of intellectual, literary, cultural, and historical developments that have taken place in the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, Sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb, and the South Pacific, and that have shaped and invigorated Francophone thought. The course analyzes the genesis of an interdisciplinary field of studies, namely Francophone studies, and its constant evolution at the intersection of the Early Modern period, postcolonial critique, post-imperialism and decoloniality. Focusing on fascinating overlooked and seminal works, films, visual and performing arts, and engaging with diverse theoretical approaches, students bolster their understanding of the predicaments of the 21st century. We will explore for example transoceanic enslavement, Haitian aesthetics, the Algerian war, Negritude and Relation, indigenous feminist testimony, archives and critical fabulations, environmental and health crises, knots of memory and museum futures, migrations and rhizomatic identities, feminisms and embodied experiences.

Course material will include works and short selected chapters by An Antane Kapesh, Gilbert Aubry, Aimé Césaire, Patrick Chamoiseau, Léon-Gontran Damas, Assia Djebar, Fabienne Kanor, Aoua Keïta, Shenaz Patel, Marie Vieux-Chauvet, Leïla Sebbar, Léopold S. Senghor, Natasha Soobramanien, Chantal Sptiz; artistic works by Beyoncé, Bintou Dembélé, Édouard Duval Carrié, Lēnablou; films by Mati Diop, Ousmane Sembène, Abderrahmane Sissako, Moufida Tlatli; theories and poe-cepts by Kamau Brathwaite, Suzanne Césaire, Maryse Condé, Edwidge Danticat, Frantz Fanon, Édouard Glissant, Saidiya Hartman, Achille Mbembe, the Nardal sisters, Felwine Sarr, Bénédicte Savoy, Khal Torabully.

This class will be discussion-based and will include small group work/class discussions/French-style lecture. Cross-pollinating theory, social justice and practice will be a particular characteristic of the course, and students will have the opportunity to discuss via Zoom or in person with writers, scholars, and/or artists.