Skip to main content

Two Books on Postcolonialism

I recently discussed what could be called two primary sources on postcolonialism, both in French, one by the poet and politician Aimé Césaire and the other by the psychoanalyst and revolutionary Frantz Fanon. Let me now recommend two secondary sources, both in English: Postcoloniality: The French Dimension, by Margaret Majumdar, and The End of Empire in French West Africa: France's Successful Decolonization?, by Tony Chafer.

If Césaire and Fanon are essential reading because they began a frank campaign for French decolonization,* Majumdar and Chafer are essential reading because they provide a frank discussion of the ongoing effects of French decolonization. It is a reality largely due to politics that postcolonialism is a mainly Anglophone discipline, and thus French postcolonialism is largely written about in English by non-French writers. More on that in a later post.

Majumdar discusses the reasons for this situation by giving a panoramic view of French imperialism, colonialism, and decolonization. Chafer gives an engaging account of the specific example of decolonization in French West Africa (the AOF, or l'Afrique occidentale française): Dahomey (Benin), French Guinea (Guinea), French Sudan (Mali), the Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, and Upper Volta (Burkina Faso).

I am particularly excited about these books because they are both by professors at the University of Portsmouth where I received my master's in Translation Studies. Majumdar is a visiting professor, and Chafer is professor of Contemporary French Area Studies.

*And, especially in the case of Fanon, they pioneered the philosophy of postcolonialism, as they wrote well before Edward Saïd, about whom [ALERT: unproven assertion] we really must remain ambivalent even if he did establish postcolonialism as an academic discipline.


Popular posts from this blog

Movie Review: A Better Life - Part 2

This is the second part of a two-part review of A Better Life. The first part dealt more with the background issue of illegal immigration, whereas this part focuses more on the movie itself.

In the movie, neither the undocumented immigrants (representative of all the undocumented, but particularly those with upright motives) nor the police (representative of the legal system, including courts, prisons, and immigration) is entirely at fault. Both are stuck in an imperfect, human system.

The viewer is led to sympathize with the undocumented man, an honest landscaper who wants nothing but to work hard so that his one son can have a better life. He’s away from home; his wife left him when his son was little; he has next to nothing; when he does acquire something (a lawn business and pickup with equipment) it gets stolen from him. And yet, the movie does not excuse what he does wrong nor does it try to show him as a man victimized and ruined by the consequences of his actions.

Apart fr…


Read this in English.





今週初めて黒澤明の『隠し砦の三悪人』という映画を見ました。この三悪人とは、だれですか? 三船敏郎が演じる真壁六郎太(まかべろくたろう)と二人の百姓です。この3人の登場人物の関係はとても面白くて、全ての人間の弱さも愛される性質も示します。