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Universalisms and francophonies

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To reject the term Francophone, that describes so well non-hexagonal literatures and puts them in dialogue with Anglophone, Hispanophone or Sinophone literatures, is tantamount to acquiescing to the metropole's old assimilationist agendas. The manifesto pour une littrature-monde en franais (Le Bris et al. 2007) is a well-meaning but clumsy attempt at renaming other literatures in order to have them fit into the world Republic of Letters as defined and understood by a universalizing French perspective. By ignoring the specificities of bilingualism, the manifesto remains indifferent to the rhetorical practices that are the philological hallmark of many Francophone texts. This essay surveys some of the negative reactions to the manifesto and proposes a definition of francophonies, in the plural, that opens up literature to new and productive understandings of universality in a decentred and multilingual world.
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Keywords: assimilation; bilingualism; palimpsest; performative genres; translation; universalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: UCLA.

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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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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