Journal of Romance Studies

Placing Pointe-à-Pitre in Paris: diaspora and francophone Caribbean postcolonial identity

Journal of Romance Studies (2005), 5, (3), 101–113.

Abstract

French departmentalization has now spanned a period of more than fifty years, resulting in at least two generations of Antilleans who either were born in France or have lived there since childhood. Specifically, this departmental creolization of the metropole, so to speak, was initiated by a massive wave of migration from the periphery to France. Today, there are more than 600,000 people of French West Indian descent or origin resident on the French mainland, a figure that is literally one per cent of the national population. Their incessant circulation problematizes perceived notions of belonging, of the difference between ‘home’ and ‘away’. Yet their insistence on ethno-cultural difference and identity, within the ambit of the universalist discourse of the metropole, speaks loudly and clearly to a perceived lack of integration by these groups into the metropolitan framework. Caribbean communities have historically been perennially peripatetic; here, they oblige us to interrogate accepted notions of community, diaspora and nationality.

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Jules-Rosette, Bennetta (1998) Black Paris: The African Writers’ Landscape (Urbana: University of Illinois Press). Black Paris: The African Writers’ Landscape Google Scholar

Murdoch, H. Adlai (2001) ‘Negotiating the metropole: patterns of exile and cultural survival in Gisèle Pineau and Suzanne Dracius-Pinalie’, in Immigrant Narratives in Contemporary France, ed. Susan Ireland and Patrice J. Proulx (Westport: Greenwood Press), 129–39. Negotiating the metropole: patterns of exile and cultural survival in Gisèle Pineau and Suzanne Dracius-Pinalie Immigrant Narratives in Contemporary France 129 39 Google Scholar

Radhakrishnan, R. (1996) Diasporic Mediations: Between Home and Location (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press). Diasporic Mediations: Between Home and Location Google Scholar

Silverman, Maxim (1992) Deconstructing the Nation: Immigration, Racism and Citizenship in Modern France (London: Routledge). Deconstructing the Nation: Immigration, Racism and Citizenship in Modern France Google Scholar

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Author details

Murdoch, H. Adlai