John L Warfield Center

Searching for a PostNegritude Womanist Identity in French Film

The Department of Radio-Television-Film invites you to a talk by visiting scholar Dr. Mark Reid, University of Florida at Gainesville. Talk is titled "Searching for a PostNegritude Womanist Identity in French Film."

Thu, November 9, 2006 | CMA 5.160, LBJ Room

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

This discussion is generally interested in French films that dramatize metropolitan encounters that North and sub-Saharan Africans have in the land of their former French colonizers. Hereafter, I use the term "French of African origin" to refer to both North and sub-Saharan AFricans who are French Citizens. The historical span is limited to films made during th last two decades. This paper focus on one particular film and interrogates notions of otherness and Frenchness as a post Negritude dilemma that has transnational resonance for the multi-ethnic, Jedeo-Christian-Moslem nation that France has become. Former static notions and beliefs about race, class, gender and nation are undergoing global and local changes throughout the world, which, like France, is not fixed within an immovable space or singular national identity. France, as are most nation-state, is an overlapping assortment of competing discourses. As Etienne Balibar writes,

"Contemporary globalization is certainly bringin about what can be called an underdetermination of the border, a weakening of its identity. But the border is no less troubled by the recent memory, the insistent afterimage of the inverse figure: that of the overdetermination of borders. By this I mean to designate the fact that...state borders...have always been immediately endowed with a global signification (Balibar, "the Borders of Europe", 220)<1>

In a very imaginative way, French cinema traces these changes in its citizenship and within its shifting European borders. It visually portrays this in dramatizing how French Black and Beur adolescents find agency within their African past and French urban presence.

<1> Etienne Balibar, "The Borders of Europe", in Cosmopolitics: Thinking and Feeling Beyond the Nation, Eds. Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins (Minneapolis, MN: Univeristy of Minnesota Press, 1998), pp. 216-229.

Sponsored by: Dept. of Radio-Television-Film

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