Recent years have seen a growing body of literature dedicated to memories of slavery in the Anglophone world, yet little has been done to approach this subject from Francophone perspectives. This collection responds to the urgent need to contribute to current research on slavery and memory studies by focusing specifically on the Francophone world. Featuring the scholarship of leading academics in France, Britain, the United States and Canada, the collection reflects upon contemporary commemorative practices that relate to the history of slavery and the slave trade, and questions how they function in relationship to other, less memorialized histories of exploitation, such as indentured and forced labour. The volume is set against the context of France’s growing body of memory legislation, as well as its close cultural and political connections to its former empire, all of which make it an influential player in how slavery continues to be memorialized and conceptualized in the public sphere. Contributors retrace and redraw the narrative map of slavery and its legacies in the Francophone world through a comparative understanding of how these different, but interconnected forms of labour exploitation have been remembered and/or forgotten from European, West African, Indian Ocean and Caribbean perspectives.
Contributors: Christine Chivallon is an anthropologist and a geographer, and is the Research Director of the CNRS (National Centre of Scientific Research) in France. Her last book is L’esclavage, du souvenir à la mémoire. Contribution à une anthropologie de la Caraïbe (2012). Catherine Reinhardt teaches at Chapman University and is currently working on a chapter entitled ‘Remembering and Imagining Slavery: Postcolonial Identities and the Memorial Landscape in the Eastern Caribbean’, in Anna Scacchi's and Elisa Bordin's Transatlantic Memories of Slavery: Reimagining the Past, Changing the Future (forthcoming in Cambria Press). Nicola Frith is a Chancellor’s Fellow and AHRC Leadership Fellow at the University of Edinburgh and is working on a project entitled ‘Mapping Memories of Slavery: Commemoration, Community and Identity in Contemporary France’, which is funded by the AHRC. She is the author of a monograph entitled The French Colonial Imagination: Writing the Indian Uprisings, 1857–1858, from Second Empire to Third Republic (2014). Renaud Hourcade is a postdoctoral researcher with the CURAPP-CNRS, Amiens. He recently published a book on memorialization processes in the former slave trade ports, entitled Les ports négriers face à leur histoire. Politiques de la mémoire à Nantes, Bordeaux et Liverpool (2014). Kate Hodgson is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool and is working on a project entitled ‘Haiti and the International Politics of Anti-Slavery’, which is funded by the British Academy. Her latest publication is ‘Dedicated to the Sound Politicians of all the Trading Nations of Europe’ in Lovejoy and Schwarzs’ Slavery, Abolition and the Transition to Colonialism in Sierra Leone (2014). Charles Forsdick is James Barrow Professor of French at the University of Liverpool and the Arts and Humanities Research Council Theme Leadership Fellow for ‘Translating Cultures’. Srilata Ravi is Professor of French at the University of Alberta and the author of Rethinking Global Mauritius: Critical Essays on Mauritian Literatures and Cultures (2013). Sotonye Omuku completed her PhD at UCL in 2013 on a project looking at ‘Representations of slavery and the slave trade in Francophone West African literature’. Inès Mrad Dali is an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Sousse in Tunisia. Her latest publication a review of Terence Walz et Kenneth M. Cuno’s Race and Slavery in the Middle East: Histories of Trans-Saharan Africans in Nineteenth-Century Egypt, Sudan, and the Ottoman Mediterranean in Naqd, Ecritures historiennes du Maghreb et du Machreq (2014). Claire Griffiths is Professor of Francophone Studies and Head of Modern Languages at the University of Chester. Her most recent publications include Contesting Historical Divides in Francophone Africa (2013) and Globalizing the Postcolony: Gender and Development in Francophone Africa (2011). Françoise Vergès holds the Chair ‘Global South(s)’ at the Collège d’études mondiales in Paris. Her most recent publication is ‘The Sound Like A Rumour’ in Kader Attia’s Transformations (2014).
Reviews'Given the recent explosion in studies of the memories of the slave trade and the recent efforts of France to include the history of slavery in its national history, the book highlights the blind spots that have marked public memory of slavery and slavery commemorations not only in France but also in countries that have historical bonds with French colonial history.'
Fabienne Viala, Slavery & Abolition
'Overall, the volume is highly innovative, sophisticated and engaging... The book will provide rewarding
reading not only to specialists in memory and in French colonialism, but also to those interested in
contemporary French culture more generally.'
At the Limits of Memory is fascinating...it will provide rewarding reading not only to specialists in memory and in French colonialism, but also to those interested in contemporary French culture more generally.
Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall, H-France Review