[Appel à contribution] ‘Mines de rien’ : L’Antillaise et l’Afropéenne face aux tropologies, entre mythes et réalités au fil du temps

Guest editors Kathleen Gyssels and Jacqueline Couti, 59 (October 2019) Essays in French Literature and Culture.

Given the current debates on feminisms and femininity, it is highly relevant to study the different aspects and reactions by Afropeans and Antillean (women) writers on the old as well as recent manifestations of misogynistic and sexist towards the women of colour both in the French Caribbean as in the Republic. We engage with the specific “looks” (“mines”, “airs”) in which women of colour have been fabricated in the gaze of the white and black men, and which attitudes women had to suffer, endure both in the private and public sphere, both in the domestic, as well as political, intellectual milieu and even in the academia.

Following up on Fanon who focussed on the “gaze” (“regard”, eye contact), our studies of iconography of the Afropean and French-Caribbean female subject aim at visualizing how the female subject of colour has been preoccupied by her out/fit and good looking, to please men who nevertheless never consider her quite equal, i.e. “right” (“mauvaise mine”, ne pas être du même /bon genre).

This special issue invites wants to deconstruct the female imaginary thanks to contributions that question the portrayal, between myth and reality, of Antillean women and women of African descent and their femininity from the XIX-XXI centuries in a French and/or Creole imaginary. Looking at transatlantic contexts, contributors will shed light on the perennial dynamics of subordination at play within the societies and diaspora of the French Antilles and the French Caribbean (Martinique, Guadeloupe, Haiti, etc.) as well as French Guiana. Exploring the stereotypes and the ways in which the “femme aux tropiques”, the women in the tropics challenge those tropologies will enrich and deepen the representation of and by (but not exclusively) female authors.

It is imperative to holistically study women and men writers, Caribbean and non-Caribbean authors and their representation of the gendered relationships (heteronormative or not), as well as racial identity or belonging, and the place of the French Caribbean and French Guiana in a supposedly multi-racial and multi-ethnic France.

Editors of this issue of Essays in French Literature and Culture welcome contributions from different critical perspectives, frameworks, approaches, and disciplines. Essays will be selected for scholarly rigor and depth of inquiry. Successful submissions will reassess and rethink the processes through which various discourses transpose issues of race, gender, (post-)colonialism, eroticism and/or nation into fiction and poetry, theatre, pamphlets, and blogs as a social and literary imaginary of the feminine.

Several topics will be considered:

* typology and tropology of femininity in the French Antilles/French Caribbean and Guiana

* family structures / matrifocality

* instrumentalized femininity & Creole masculinities, phallologocentrism

* pleasure and its “mise en scène”: the world of entertainment, eroticization and racialization of the (female) sexual

* good hair and nice skin (stigma of racial, ethnic and national categories: coulie, Chinese, Haitian, etc…)

* the (black) female body in visual arts (publicity) and popular culture (calypso, be-bop)

* institutionalization and intersectionality: parity a Utopia to the DOM (French Overseas Departments)  and DROM (French Overseas Departments and Regions) ?

Proposals (either in French or English) of approximately 200-300 words should be sent to Kathleen Gyssels (kathleen.gyssels@uantwerpen.be) and Jacqueline Couti (jacqueline.couti@uky.edu). Deadline for submission of proposals: May 27, 2018, for submission of articles to November 1, 2018, with publication of the issue in October 2019.

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