The Indian Ocean has been a multicultural contact zone for more than 5000 years. The islands of the Mascarene archipelago have been an integral part of these exchanges since the seventeenth century. This book presents a new approach to the comparative study of Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Charles Baudelaire, Amitav Ghosh, Dev Virahsawmy, Shenaz Patel, Yves Pitchen, Barlen Pyamootoo, and William Shakespeare. It also brings up crucial issues of public policy, language, and democracy in Mauritius and Reunion Island. 320 pp with illustrations. Françoise Lionnet is a UCLA professor of Comparative Literature, French and Francophone Studies, and Gender Studies, as well as the current director of the African Studies Center and Program Co-Director of UCLA’s Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities: Cultures in Transnational Perspective. She is a former president of the ACLA.
In this study, Françoise Lionnet discusses the poetic representation of insularity in the works of Evariste (de) Parny, Charles Baudelaire, Aimé Césaire, Malcolm de Chazal, and Edouard Maunick, who are then put into dialogue with Francophone and Anglophone Mauritian women writers. She argues that novelists Nathacha Appanah, Lindsey Collen, Ananda Devi, and M-T. Humbert provide salient examples of contemporary multilingual “world literature.” 320 pages. Françoise Lionnet is a UCLA professor of Comparative Literature, French and Francophone Studies, and Gender Studies, as well as the current director of the African Studies Center and Program Co-Director of UCLA’s Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Humanities: Cultures in Transnational Perspective. She is a former president of the ACLA.
Minor Transnationalism moves beyond a binary model of minority cultural formations that often dominates contemporary cultural and postcolonial studies. Where that model presupposes that minorities necessarily and continuously engage with and against majority cultures in a vertical relationship of assimilation and opposition, this volume brings together case studies that reveal a much more varied terrain of minority interactions with both majority cultures and other minorities. The contributors recognize the persistence of colonial power relations and the power of global capital, attend to the inherent complexity of minor expressive cultures, and engage with multiple linguistic formations as they bring postcolonial minor cultural formations across national boundaries into productive comparison.
Based in a broad range of fields—including literature, history, African studies, Asian American studies, Asian studies, French and francophone studies, and Latin American studies—the contributors complicate ideas of minority cultural formations and challenge the notion that transnationalism is necessarily a homogenizing force. They cover topics as diverse as competing versions of Chinese womanhood; American rockabilly music in Japan; the trope of mestizaje in Chicano art and culture; dub poetry radio broadcasts in Jamaica; creole theater in Mauritius; and race relations in Salvador, Brazil. Together, they point toward a new theoretical vocabulary, one capacious enough to capture the almost infinitely complex experiences of minority groups and positions in a transnational world.
Contributors. Moradewun Adejunmobi, Ali Behdad, Michael Bourdaghs, Suzanne Gearhart, Susan Koshy, Françoise Lionnet, Seiji M. Lippit, Elizabeth Marchant, Kathleen McHugh, David Palumbo-Liu, Rafael Pérez-Torres, Jenny Sharpe, Shu-mei Shih , Tyler Stovall
Passionate allegiances to competing theoretical camps have stifled dialogue among today’s literary critics, asserts Françoise Lionnet. Discussing a number of postcolonial narratives by women from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds, she offers a comparative feminist approach that can provide common ground for debates on such issues as multiculturalism, universalism, and relativism.
Lionnet uses the concept of métissage, or cultural mixing, in her readings of a rich array of Francophone and Anglophone texts―by Michelle Cliff from Jamaica, Suzanne Dracius-Pinalie from Martinique, Ananda Devi from Mauritius, Maryse Conde and Myriam Warner-Vieyra from Guadeloupe, Gayl Jones from the United States, Bessie Head from Botswana, Nawal El Saadawi from Egypt, and Leila Sebbar from Algeria and France. Focusing on themes of exile and displacement and on narrative treatments of culturally sanctioned excision, polygamy, and murder, Lionnet examines the psychological and social mechanisms that allow individuals to negotiate conflicting cultural influences. In her view, these writers reject the opposition between self and other and base their self-portrayals on a métissage of forms and influences.
Lionnet’s perspective has much to offer critics and theorists, whether they are interested in First or Third World contexts, American or French critical perspectives, essentialist or poststructuralist epistemologies.
Adopting a boldly innovative approach to women’s autobiographical writing, Francoise Lionnet here examines the rhetoric of self-portraiture in works the authors of which are bilingual or multilingual or of mixed races or culture. Autobiographical Voices offers incisive readings of autobiographical texts by the Afro-Americans Zora Neale Hurston and Maya Angelou; Marie Cardinal, a Franco-Algerian; the Caribbean writer Maryse Conde; Marie-Therese Humbert, from Mauritius and two canonical male figures, Augustine and Nietzsche.