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FREN 575: Afro-Caribbean Indigeneities

TuTh 3:30-4:45pm, Dey Hall 210, Prof. Erika Serrato (

What does it mean to be native to a place? What does naturalization entail in the context of colonialism? In what ways is indigeneity manifested in the French-speaking Caribbean? In this seminar we’ll scrutinize the political, philosophical, aesthetic, and literary movements produced in and about Haiti, Guadeloupe, and Martinique. We will examine the origins of Négritude as well as its refractions and leading figures, including but not limited to Aimé Césaire. We will pay particular attention to the discourse, descriptions, and evocations of what constitutes the “indigène des Caraïbes” in the post/colonial context of the Francophone Caribbean. Ranging from the influence of Léopold Sédar Senghor’s “African essence,” passing through the Indigéniste movement in Haiti that sought to forge a national identity, Édouard Glissant’s Antillanité, the Créolistes, and all the way to Maryse Condé’s portrayal of a polyvalent, heterogeneous Caribbean subject, this course will both take a panoramic view of what are now canonical texts and propose a reevaluation of how we think the Caribbean native and their environment.
This course is taught in French and is open to both undergraduate and graduate students.

*Taught in French. May count for the FREN minor / major. Undergraduates wishing to enroll on this course should contact the instructor.


Prerequisites: FREN 300, and 370, 371, or 372.