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Open Access The Premier Festival Mondial des Arts Nègres

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This article builds on existing analysis of the 1966 Dakar-based international Premier Festival des arts nègres (FESMAN). It takes as its starting point the assumption that the festival's organizers failed to demonstrate a practical, economic role for culture in their re-imagining of transnational black culture. The article demonstrates that, while philosophical questions of cultural identity were central to the festival, this unprecedented event was also understood as an opportunity for 'selling' culture. Three texts are shown to highlight the festival's hoped-for economic benefits: a piece on Senegal as tourist site published in FESMAN's official programme, press coverage of the period leading up to the festival's opening in Senegal's weekly francophone newspaper, L'Unité africaine, and, finally, André Malraux's account of visiting FESMAN as French Minister for Culture. Underpinning readings of each of these texts is an emphasis on the significance of touristic activity at the festival and its role in articulating and consolidating a particular view of 'modern' transnational black identity.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2015

More about this publication?
  • The Irish Journal of French Studies is an annual international refereed journal published by the Association des Études Françaises et Francophones d'Irlande. Articles in English, French or Irish are welcomed on any aspect of research in the area of French and Francophone culture, society, literature and thought. Articles published within the last two years are available free online to members and may be purchased by non-members. All other articles are available on an open access basis.

    Please note that the Print ISSN listed for the journal on this website applies to volumes 1 to 10, and part of volume 16. All other volumes are published, in their entirety, on-line only.

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