Lecture by Emmanuel Bruno Jean-François, "Of Shores and Waves, and Marine Tales: Islands, Oceans, and Fallacies of Colonial Geographies in the Indian Ocean"

March 19, 2020 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm

Join us for this lecture on Francophone contexts in the Indian Ocean.

While colonial imagination has persistently represented islands and archipelagoes of the Global South as vulnerable and fragmented isolates, one needs only consider Creole islands of the Mascarene region and the Antilles to appreciate how ‘insular’ histories and experiences relate more to stories of exchanges and encounters than one would initially imagine. Using the New Thalassology and Kamau Brathwaite’s notion of “tidalectics” as a relational framework for exploring multipolar connections, minor solidarities, and long-ignored forms of cosmopolitanism, this presentation discusses how the transcolonial and transoceanic imaginaries of Francophone Indian Ocean writers disrupt the colonial taxonomies that have construed islands as spaces of colonial difference, isolation, and vulnerability. While their “de-insularization” of islands and their rewriting of geographies, temporalities, and epistemologies bridge the gap between landmasses and seas, oceans and archipelagoes, it also configures fluctuating horizons and symbolic spaces of relation from which minority, racialized, and subaltern subjects across multiple sites can interact in fruitful and lateral ways.

Presenter’s bio

Emmanuel Bruno Jean-François is Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies, and Comparative Literature at Penn State University. He is the author of Poétiques de la violence et récits francophones contemporains (Brill, 2017) and has published numerous articles in scholarly journals such as the PMLA, the International Journal of Francophone Studies, Nouvelles études francophones and Lettres romanes. He has guest-edited special issues of Contemporary French and Francophone Studies (“Mapping Francophone Postcolonial Theory”, 2018) and Nouvelles études francophones  (2013) and is presently co-editing an issue of Cultural Dynamics on “The Minor in Question.” Jean-François is also currently at work on a second monograph, titled Oceanic Creolization and Multiethnic Societies, that focuses primarily on contemporary Indian Ocean literatures and expressive cultures.

Co-sponsored by the Humanities Center, the Global Studies Center, Cultural Studies, and the African Studies program. 

Hosted by the Department of French and Italian.

Location and Address

TBA