The course is meant to introduce students to the diverse heritage of two French Caribbean Islands — Martinique and Guadeloupe — whose culture was shaped by the harsh forces of colonization that brought Native Americans, French (Creoles), Africans, Indians, and Chinese into contact in labor relations ruled by the French colonial power. The hybrid culture that emerged from this forced co-existence reflects both the conflicts and the synergy of the islanders who found creative ways to express their sense of suffering and loss. We will explore this rich uneasy heritage through the theoretical works of Aimé Césaire, René Ménil, and Edouard Glissant, and the fiction of Maryse Condé, Gisèle Pineau, and Patrick Chamoiseau.
Evaluation will be based on class participation, two short papers, and a final essay.
All students are welcome. Francophone texts will be available in English translation. Students who have a reading knowledge of French, and are interested in honing their skills will be able to read these authors in the original.
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