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Beyond departmentalization: feminist Black Atlantic reformulations of outremer in Daniel Maximin's L'Isol soleil

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This article argues that in his 1981 novel L'Isol soleil, Daniel Maximin implicitly decentres the issue of the 1946 departmentalization law through staging multiple criss-crossings of the Black Atlantic. He is primarily interested in including French-Guadeloupean relations in a broader mapping out of the rhizomatic character of Guadeloupean culture. Because Maximin's rewriting of Guadeloupean history positions it in relation not just to France, but also to other parts of what Paul Gilroy has called the Black Atlantic, this article first outlines the similarities and differences between Maximin's and Gilroy's projects. It then investigates one strand in Maximin's Black Atlantic connections, his rewriting of recent Black Panther history. His focus is on the lives and deaths of George and Jonathan Jackson as filtered through the lens of Angela Davis's Autobiography, a major intertext in his novel. It is argued that, through his focus on female narrators, including Angela Davis, Maximin prophetically adds an important feminist facet to Gilroy's subsequent theorization of the Black Atlantic. Maximin's vision of Guadeloupean history and culture goes beyond both Francocentric departmentalization and masculinist versions of the Black Atlantic.

Keywords: Black Atlantic; Davis, Angela; Jackson, George; Jackson, Jonathan; Maximin, Daniel; feminism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: San Diego State University.

Publication date: June 16, 2008

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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