Francophone Culture and the Postcolonial Fascination with Ethnic Crimes and Colonial Aura
This study examines the frequently overlooked problem of how colonial-era memories often become haunting, obsessive points of reference for contemporary culture. Examining the widespread use of haunting as a theoretical mode of recovery of occulted colonial history as part of its larger study of colonial memories circulating between France and the Maghreb, this book demonstrates the postcolonial imperative of moving beyond the categories of victim and torturer that frequently characterize the recovery of colonial history. The work demonstrates how in both postcolonial France and the Maghreb cultural identity and memory are structured in large part through a dialogue with colonial history that impedes a confrontation with contemporary issues important to the present and future of those geographical territories. Through a study of how popular postcolonial figures such as Zinedine Zidane, Assia Djebar, Lei1a Sebbar, Azouz Begag, and Tahar Ben Jelloun point to the necessity of transgressing the mutually shared history of colonial defeat, victimization, and culpabilty uniting France and the Maghreb, this work suggests the emergence of a nuaced form of postcolonial memory. The necessity of reconsidering the unique place that colonial history holds in these cultures as a mythical and haunting point of identification is borne out through analyses of how these postcolonial subjects confront contemporary and potential future forms of cultural identity. The work contributes a unique perspective to postcolonial studies in that it demonstrates how the colonial era continues to structure cultural memory. In this regard, this work offers a fresh perspective to debates on revisionist history and demonstrates how formerly colonized subjects and their children contribute actively to dialogue on the relevance of the colonial past in contemporary contexts where postcolonial identity is being forged.
“This work represents a comprehensive and cohesive collection of scholarly chapters owing to the breadth and depth of knowledge regarding not only colonial and postcolonial vestiges and on-going relations between France and the Maghreb, but rather all aspects of the Francophone world, as well as mainstream, French contemporary literary studies and theory and the "New Europe." Furthermore, this work is an important and refreshing contribution to the field of postcolonial Francophone studies as they relate to contemporary French society and popular culture. Readers will be equally impressed by the cogency and perspicacity of the author's many insightful observations and arguments which will be of great interest to both specialists of French and Francophone cultural and literary studies. The reader will quickly and acutely become aware that this work was written by a top-notch researcher and communicator who knows how to adeptly get his point across both clearly and effectively. The author is equally adept at drawing upon and incorporating into his research a body of critical and theoretical works to make his arguments that much more convincing and well grounded. As this study shows, the author has an excellent grasp of the crucial, cultural, historical, socio-political and literary themes and issues confronting both French and Francophone studies with respect to postcolonial discourse affecting cultural memories of the colonizer/colonized in both space and time. To the author's credit, this study poses some crucial questions and offers some possible, new theoretical and practical avenues to explore or investigate with regard to the dialectic of the Other, such as how the colonized can come to grasp with and fully define his or her own individual identity through the distorted mirror or prism of the collective and necessarily painful colonial experience. The author develops a comprehensive, theoretical framework to better grasp the complexities and problematics, the historical and cultural underpinnings, associated with the notion of occulted memories and, more importantly, the evolutive process or mechanism of forging identities … Possibly one of the most important contributions this book makes is its lucid and illuminating discussion of the pervasive use of haunting as a theoretical metaphor. Examining the works of major theorists of the postcolonial such as Homi Bhabha, Ian Chambers, Anne McClintock, and Robert Young, Michael O'Riley points to how these theorists' work can be read as a haunting identification with French colonial history. This unique interpretation of Anglophone postcolonial theory provides a highly original and important contribution to Francophone postcolonial studies, but it also demonstrates how theories of postcolonial intervention are frequently formulated through the idea of an affective, haunting colonial aura … Michael O'Riley's identification of the role that French colonial history places within these dynamics of postcolonial theory is significant and will be of great interest to scholars of the postcolonial.” – (from the Commendatory Preface) Dr. Jean-Luc Desalvo, Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies, San Jose State University and author of Le tapas du mundus inversus dans l'oeuvre d'Antonine Maillet (San Francisco: International Scholars Publications, 1999), and of numerous articles on Francophone literature.
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ISBN10: 0-7734-6118-3 ISBN13: 978-0-7734-6118-5 Pages: 248 Year: 2005