Research team

Institute of Jewish Studies

Expertise

Postcolonial literatures, African, African-American, and Caribbean Literatures, Jewish literature, anthropology and travel writing, trauma studies, Francophonie

BOF Sabbatical Leave - Kathleen Gyssels. two monographs about L.-G. Damas. 'a ti pa': vers une France décoloniale avec l'antillectuel L. G. Damas, Brill), and collection of poetry Mine de riens (2012), forthcoming 2022, with Ed. Passage(s). 13/02/2018 - 12/02/2019

Abstract

1. A first monograph will be finished in the form of an intellectual biography of Leon Damas. It will contextualize the poet and politician in the Negritude movement and in the broader field of postcolonial writing by prominent poets from African and the Caribbean. Neglected, Damas will here be rehabilitated as a forerunner of many emancipatory movements. 2. The Second monograph is an essay on the posthumous published collection of poetry by the same Leon Damas, Dernière escale (2012). it forms the second tome of my close reading of his earlier collection Black-Label (1956). Ed. passage(s) will launch the book at the end of 2018 or Spring 2019 (by the end of my sabbatical). 3. Meanwhile, I start a third new project on "dark tourism" in the Caribbean, on heritage tourism and new "memorials" in the Caribbean and the Guianas: given the poor and even misrepresentation of local heroes and other minorities in the West Indies, my book will shed light on important gaps and how some (of the best) metafictional narratives fill in this void (Padura, Dalembert for the Jewish presence in the archipelago, for instance).

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Comparative perspectives on Caribbean, Lusophone African and European (Con)Texts. 01/01/2015 - 31/12/2016

Abstract

This project represents a formal research agreement between UA and on the other hand the Federal Public Service. UA provides the Federal Public Service research results mentioned in the title of the project under the conditions as stipulated in this contract.

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Project website

Post-apartheid and postcolonial Afrikaans literature in South Africa: A Status Quaestionis. 01/10/2009 - 30/09/2013

Abstract

This study is concerned with female subjectivity in four postcolonial Afrikaans texts ranging from apartheid (officially introduced in 1948) to the past 18 years of post-apartheid South Africa. Poppie Nongena (1978) by Elsa Joubert, Agaat (2004) by Marlene van Niekerk, 30 nagte in Amsterdam (2008) by Etienne van Heerden and Noudat slapende honde (2008) by Ronelda S. Kamfer are analysed using postcolonial and feminist theory (Bhabha, 1990; Bhabha, 1994; Spivak, 1988; McClintock, 1995). Through textual analyses a number of existing findings by international scholars (McClintock, 1995; Gardner, 1990) are questioned, while the female postcolonial subject are explored in relation to the family, the state and the community.

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Publication monography "Maranne et maronne: l'écriture réversible d'André Schwarz-Bart". 09/06/2009 - 31/12/2009

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Trans-Caribbean Connections: Francophone and Anglophone Migration Literature from the Caribbean (1950 to Present). 01/02/2007 - 31/07/2007

Abstract

The proposed research project aims to examine connections between postcolonial Anglophone and Francophone Caribbean fiction in terms of narrative forms, style and the representation of Caribbean societies. Through a close reading of selected narratives, I will demonstrate striking linguistic, ethnic and cultural links between Caribbean diaspora and migrant literatures which have not received critical attention and comparative analyses yet.

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Writing on/as Violence and Memory : A Comparative and Critical Analysis of Literary Texts Pertaining tot Haitian Boat People and El Corte (Banks, Brathwaite, Dalembert, Danticat, Dove, Ollivier). 01/10/2006 - 12/07/2009

Abstract

Virtually neglected in the media and almost invisible in local and international political debates, the clandestine migration of Haitians to other Caribbean islands and to the mainland (Florida) is getting more dreadful and dramatic every day. However, very few studies exist on the representation in literature of this phenomenon, which transcends geographical and national boundaries (Cf. the Maghreb immigration wave to Europe). This doctoral project aims at examining the literary representation of violence in the context of the Haitian so-called boat people, victims of widespread oppression and discrimination. It is the first in its genre in dealing with the perception of the Haitian outlaw and migrant in fiction by both Haitian authors (Edwidge Danticat, Louis-Philippe Dalembert, and Emile Ollivier), and 'auteurs d'adoption' (African-Caribbeans, such as Edward Kamau Brathwaite and Maryse Condé, and Americans, such as Russell Banks), two categories that have never been compared before. In addition, this study approaches the problems and exclusions faced by the Haitian migrant through the examination of different genres (children's literature, poetry, novels and short stories) and literary traditions (French and English). Furthermore, this research describes in a detailed and exhaustive way the 'écriture de la violence': a writing style that is aesthetically and ethically acceptable for both author (narrator) and audience (narratee). As a result, the victims of the human tragedy marking modern Haiti retrieve their voices and are granted a commemorative place in History (in the double meaning of collective memory and historiography). Theoretically, narratology, trauma literature and criticism, and intertextuality will be combined with insights from postcolonialism and francophone studies in order to break with the ongoing "balkanisation" (Glissant) of literary studies with regard to literature from and on the Caribbean archipelago.

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Monograph: Passes et impasses du comparatisme postcolonial. Cinq études transfrontalières de la diaspora noire aux Amériques. 14/06/2006 - 31/12/2006

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Writing on/as Violence and Memory : A Comparative and Critical Analysis of Literary Texts Pertaining tot Haitian Boat People and El Corte (Banks, Brathwaite, Dalembert, Danticat, Dove, Ollivier). 01/10/2004 - 30/09/2006

Abstract

Virtually neglected in the media and almost invisible in local and international political debates, the clandestine migration of Haitians to other Caribbean islands and to the mainland (Florida) is getting more dreadful and dramatic every day. However, very few studies exist on the representation in literature of this phenomenon, which transcends geographical and national boundaries (Cf. the Maghreb immigration wave to Europe). This doctoral project aims at examining the literary representation of violence in the context of the Haitian so-called boat people, victims of widespread oppression and discrimination. It is the first in its genre in dealing with the perception of the Haitian outlaw and migrant in fiction by both Haitian authors (Edwidge Danticat, Louis-Philippe Dalembert, and Emile Ollivier), and 'auteurs d'adoption' (African-Caribbeans, such as Edward Kamau Brathwaite and Maryse Condé, and Americans, such as Russell Banks), two categories that have never been compared before. In addition, this study approaches the problems and exclusions faced by the Haitian migrant through the examination of different genres (children's literature, poetry, novels and short stories) and literary traditions (French and English). Furthermore, this research describes in a detailed and exhaustive way the 'écriture de la violence': a writing style that is aesthetically and ethically acceptable for both author (narrator) and audience (narratee). As a result, the victims of the human tragedy marking modern Haiti retrieve their voices and are granted a commemorative place in History (in the double meaning of collective memory and historiography). Theoretically, narratology, trauma literature and criticism, and intertextuality will be combined with insights from postcolonialism and francophone studies in order to break with the ongoing "balkanisation" (Glissant) of literary studies with regard to literature from and on the Caribbean archipelago.

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"Balkanism" in Austrian literature and culture: Bosnia-Hercegovina 1878-1918. 01/03/2003 - 31/03/2008

Abstract

The project will examine current discourses on the Balkans in Austrian culture from the 18th to the 20th century: which images of the self and the other have been created, esp. what Bosnia-Hercegovina is concerned which used to be an annexed part of Austria-Hungary from 1878 to 1918. Can you compare these images to similar ones described in colonial literatures.

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The Caribbean, an imagined community? Passes and impasses in comparative postcolonial criticism re the African Diaspora in five studies. 01/10/2001 - 30/09/2011

Abstract

In my resarch I try to make a twofold breakthrough in the field of francophone postcolonial literatures. On the one hand I intend to bring francophone and non-francophone writers and their texts in relation with each other. This translinguistic perspective will be applied to 10 authors from the African diaspora who share typological affinites ("gender", "historiographic metafiction", "travel writing", "la Créole blanche", "la Médée noire"). On the other hand, notions of canon formation and literary history will be reconsidered in order to overcome the "balkanisation" of both Caribbean literature and criticism.

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Decolonizing the French Caribbean: the Postcoloniality of Haitian's Feminine Writing in Diaspora. 01/01/2001 - 31/12/2002

Abstract

This essay finds itself at the crossroad of Francophone Studies and Postcolonial Studies. Through a close reading of five novels, produced both in and out Haïti, we will show how the female writers are still marginalized, invisible in the 'literary histories' and absent in the canon. We will show the conventional concepts (such as 'francophone', 'postmodern', 'postcolonial', ...) reveal problematic. Literary criticism has to be retaught and reconsidered for Haitian, female writings which ask for a interdisciplinary, cross-cultural and comparative approach.

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    (H)histoires d'outre-merès: French-Caribbean Women Literature in an Afro-Caribbean, Afro-American, and Post-Colonial Perspective (Maryse Condé, André and Simone Schwarz-Bart, Paule Marshall and Toni Morrison) 01/10/1995 - 30/09/1998

    Abstract

    In this project I trace a literary Middle Passage, confronting the 'historical' novels of Maryse Condé, André and Simone Schwarz-Bart with those of Afro-Caribbean Paule Marshall and African-American Toni Morrison (Nobel Price 1993). My research opens up new horizons in literary criticism where, in respect of postcolonial literature, the francophone and anglophone world still stand apart from each other. Dislocation and fragmentation, the search for wholeness, the heritage of slavery and colonisation are fundamental topics in the novels of these authors who all remember 'the disremembered and unaccounted for' (Morrison). A comparative perspective illustrates the continuity in style, form and topics between the novels under scrutiny.

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