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Postcolonial Violence, Culture and Identity in Francophone Africa and the Antilles


Lorna Milne

This book is the first to examine postcolonial cultures and identities by investigating the way in which violence is represented by Francophone creative artists. Focusing chiefly on literature, but including discussion of both film and photography, the volume includes chapters on the representation of the colonial massacre in Paris and Thiaroye; of beatings, torture and murder in Congo and the Maghreb; of the Rwandan genocide; of slavery in the Antilles; and of violence – especially the rape and abuse of women – throughout the Francophone world. These analyses, while they make for troubling reading, permit interesting comparisons and confirm the existence of concerns that are common to postcolonial Francophone artists. A pressing interest in materiality and the physical body as a vehicle of representation, a preoccupation with gender, and a restless experimentation with creative form are some of the most insistent features of their work. Most importantly, perhaps, their portrayal of violence reveals a strong engagement not only with the politics of postcolonial culture and identity, but with their ethical dimensions.
Contents: Lorna Milne: Introduction – Charles Forsdick: ‘Ceci n’est pas un conte, mais une histoire de chair et de sang’ : representing the colonial massacre in Francophone literature and culture – Roger Ravet: Sony Labou Tansi’s ‘violence engageante’ – Aedín Ní Loingsigh: Lying to tell the truth: fiction and the Rwandan genocide in Véronique Tadjo’s L’Ombre d’Imana – Jeanette den Toonder: Un Dimanche à la piscine à Kigali : writing the Rwandan genocide – Anne Marie Miraglia: Maghrebi women’s writing: violence, silence and speaking out – Andy Stafford: The violence of photography? ‘Le besoin d’histoire’ in Leïla Sebbar’s ‘La Photo d’identité’ – Maeve McCusker: Carnal knowledge: trauma, memory and the body in Patrick Chamoiseau’s Biblique des derniers gestes – Lorna Milne: Sex, violence and cultural identity in the work of Gisèle Pineau.