"[W]ithout a doubt one of the most important studies so far completed on literature in French grounded in the experiences of migrants of sub-Saharan African origin." —Alec Hargreaves, Florida State University
France has always hosted a rich and vibrant black presence within its borders. But recent violent events have raised questions about France’s treatment of ethnic minorities. Challenging the identity politics that have set immigrants against the mainstream, Black France explores how black expressive culture has been reformulated as global culture in the multicultural and multinational spaces of France. Thomas brings forward questions such as—Why is France a privileged site of civilization? Who is French? Who is an immigrant? Who controls the networks of production? Black France poses an urgently needed reassessment of the French colonial legacy.
Preface and Acknowledgments
Note on Translations
1. Introduction: Black France in Transcolonial Contexts
2. Francocentrism and the Acquisition of Cultural Capital
3. Textual Ownership and the Global Mediation of Blackness
4. Rhetorical Mediations of Slavery
5. Afro-Parisianism and African Feminisms
6. Fashion Matters: La sape and Vestimentary Codes in Transnational Contexts and Urban Diasporas
7. African Youth in the Global Economy
"Thomas (comparative literature and French and Francophone studies, UCLA) offers a wide—ranging exploration of the literature of the black experience of France. His analysis is informed by writers and critics located throughout Africa and the African diaspora, and it covers themes ranging from immigration/emigration, slavery, and excision to the culture of Congolese dandyism known as la sape. Particularly valuable is his examination of francophone African literature, work written by people living in Africa or elsewhere: Thomas does not impose a framework that would imply a monolithic Franco—African experience that does not exist. Just as important, Thomas demonstrates a continuity in themes and literary influences that stretches across the borders of time (colonial and postcolonial) and nation. Thomas supports his study with the work of numerous scholars (cited throughout), and he includes generous references to primary texts (either in citations or in summaries that are easy to follow, even if one has not read the text in question). Any library supporting programs in Francophone or African studies will want this scholarly but accessible book. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper—division undergraduates through faculty. —CHOICE November 2007"
D. L. Boudreau
"[This] book offers a welcome reminder of the breadth and depth of French cultural intersections. 51.1 April 2008"
African Studies Review
"Thomas' approach opens up new intersections for a broader understanding of contemporary cultural studies of francophone Africa, as distinct from most studies of Anglophone Africa that are most frequently grounded in history and anthropology to the exclusion of lived experience as a literary adventure. Vol. 33.1-2 (Winter-Spring 2008)"
Peter J. Bloom
University of California (Santa Barbara)
"... a wide—ranging exploration of the literature of the black experience of France.... Particularly valuable is [Thomas's] examination of francophone African literature... Any library supporting programs in Francophone or African studies will want this scholarly but accessible book.... Recommended."