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Fieldwork and Fiction: Ethnography and Literature in the French Caribbean
Dalarna University, School of Languages and Media Studies, French.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The birth of French Caribbean literature is in many ways tied to a nontheorized and circumstantial use of ethnography. Ethnography is mainly referred to as a discourse of knowledge having to do with defining and questioning the notion of culture which, in this case, was important to Martinican authors trying to articulate identity. Thanks to recent research on surrealism in the Caribbean critical attention has been paid to the ethnographic influence on authors and thinkers gathered around the journal Tropiques. The fact that ethnography remains important to writers all through the 20th century has however been explored less. This study deals with the development of the ethnographic reference in writings from the French Caribbean, focusing on authors Édouard Glissant, Patrick Chamoiseau, and Ina Césaire, and anthropologists Michèle-Baj Strobel and Richard Price. I argue that from the 1950’s ethnography will have a different function when Martinique undergoes a radical modernization, urban space emerges as a literary scene, and writers starts to question their own position and their possibility of representing others. The first chapter demonstrates that the editors of Tropiques borrow from ethnography to describe Creole popular culture in a pastoral mode and explore an ethnography of the imagination influenced by surrealism. In the second chapter discuss the elaboration of an ethnography of the self by Glissant and Chamoiseau. I then focus on writing in relation to the Creole tale and assess the representation of iii oral stories in novels by Chamoiseau and Césaire. Finally, I analyze the construction of landscape in texts by Glissant, Strobel, Price. The authors included in this study are in one way or another trying to capture a society in transition rather than a stable and well defined culture. Therefore, I argue, the inscriptions of ethnography become a means for questioning the relationships between fiction and documentary, past and present, subject and community, between narrator, observer and the world.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: New York University , 2010.
Keyword [en]
Karibiska studier, Litteraturvetenskap, postkoloniala studier, etnografi och litteratur, fransksprÄkig litteratur
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-4475OAI: oai:dalea.du.se:4475DiVA: diva2:523395
Available from: 2010-01-20 Created: 2010-01-20 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf