Title

Decolonizing French: Afrophonics in Ken Bugul’s Aller et retour (2013)

Subject Area

French and Francophone Studies

Abstract

How to decolonize French? Self-labelled Afropean writer Léonora Miano offers “l’afrophonie” as a transversal and transnational language resisting the principle of colonial domination embodied in the French language and the concept of "La Francophonie." One can argue that Miano’s “afrophonie” akin to Edouard Glissant’s “poetics of relation” and Ngugi Wa Thiong’os “globalectics” calls for decolonial languages acting as the depositaries of shared memories entangled in the histories of Africa and the diaspora. In that sense, Miano calls for the liberation of African and diaspora literatures in French from the institutional yoke of “la Francophonie.” While comparatively unpacking Miano’s concept of “afrophonie” as a set of strategies enunciating the creative transgressive impulse of Sub-Saharans and Afro-descendants, this paper claims that what Miano is offering is a multi-perspectival reading of texts that would take into account the interconnectedness and the entanglements of shared histories of colonialism beyond "La Francophonie." In doing so, I propose to read Ken Bugul’s Aller et retour (2013) "afrophonically". This paper seeks to highlight how the Senegalese writer strategically parallels a form of “linguistic errancy” with the incessant back and forth movements of Bigué and Ngoné, two Senegalese women who wander the streets of Dakar, Senegal in the 1980s. I argue that Bugul draws a linguistic arabesque weaving transversally and transgressively local and global languages and notions of agencies in fashioning new identities. The objective of this paper is to offer an example of how to read “la parole afrophonique” as a form of postcolonial language transgressing the idea of a Francophone literature, thus decolonizing French.

Brief Bio Note

Hapsatou Wane is an assistant professor of English and French at Georgia Southern University in Savannah Georgia. She holds a PhD in Comparative and World Literature from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She works on world literatures, postcolonial studies and gender and women studies.

Keywords

Francophone literature, Postcolonialism, Afrophonie, Poetics of Relation, Globalectics

Location

Room 217

Presentation Year

2018

Start Date

4-5-2018 9:35 AM

Embargo

11-27-2017

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Apr 5th, 9:35 AM

Decolonizing French: Afrophonics in Ken Bugul’s Aller et retour (2013)

Room 217

How to decolonize French? Self-labelled Afropean writer Léonora Miano offers “l’afrophonie” as a transversal and transnational language resisting the principle of colonial domination embodied in the French language and the concept of "La Francophonie." One can argue that Miano’s “afrophonie” akin to Edouard Glissant’s “poetics of relation” and Ngugi Wa Thiong’os “globalectics” calls for decolonial languages acting as the depositaries of shared memories entangled in the histories of Africa and the diaspora. In that sense, Miano calls for the liberation of African and diaspora literatures in French from the institutional yoke of “la Francophonie.” While comparatively unpacking Miano’s concept of “afrophonie” as a set of strategies enunciating the creative transgressive impulse of Sub-Saharans and Afro-descendants, this paper claims that what Miano is offering is a multi-perspectival reading of texts that would take into account the interconnectedness and the entanglements of shared histories of colonialism beyond "La Francophonie." In doing so, I propose to read Ken Bugul’s Aller et retour (2013) "afrophonically". This paper seeks to highlight how the Senegalese writer strategically parallels a form of “linguistic errancy” with the incessant back and forth movements of Bigué and Ngoné, two Senegalese women who wander the streets of Dakar, Senegal in the 1980s. I argue that Bugul draws a linguistic arabesque weaving transversally and transgressively local and global languages and notions of agencies in fashioning new identities. The objective of this paper is to offer an example of how to read “la parole afrophonique” as a form of postcolonial language transgressing the idea of a Francophone literature, thus decolonizing French.