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Open Access Love, Trauma and War: The Tirailleurs sénégalais and Sexual-Racial Politics in 1920s France

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The arrival of hundreds of thousands of male colonial subjects as soldiers and workers in the period from 1914–18 caused great anxiety to the French authorities who actively sought to police relations between black men and French women. This article will tease out questions surrounding sexual-racial politics, focusing on the case of Lamine Senghor. In his articles/speeches, Senghor made repeated references to the sacrifices he had made on behalf of France during the First World War: seriously wounded at Verdun, he was, like many tirailleurs, physically and mentally scarred by the war. If the shattered body of the tirailleur was a significant marker of his identity, the proof of the dette du sang owed to the colonized by the French, what does Senghor's marriage to a white Frenchwoman tell us about sex, race and politics in 1920s France?

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Keywords: FIRST WORLD WAR; LAMINE SENGHOR; LUCIE COUSTURIER; SEXUALITY AND RACE; TIRAILLEURS SENEGALAIS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 19, 2013

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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