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Negritude Agonistes, Assimilation against Nationalism in the French-speaking Caribbean and Guyane
|Book Description (Annotation)
Assesses European and French colonialism in the Caribbean from the 16th century and the racial and cultural movements of black and mixed-race people in the French-speaking West Indies and Guyane that emerged in the 19th century and first half of the 20th century. Contrasts the proponents for and against assimilation to the political and social constructs of France. Rare excerpts from the issue of L'Etudiant Noir Journal Mensuel de l'Association des Etudiants Martiniquais en France (The Black Student Journal ...) where Aimé Césaire first used the word Negritude and the previously unpublished poetry of Léon Damas are important focal points of the author's historical analysis and literary criticism.
BISAC subjects: HISTORY / Caribbean & West Indies / General; HISTORY / Europe / France; LITERARY CRITICISM / Caribbean & Latin American
Dr. Christian Filostrat is a researcher in the field of French West Indies politics and literature and a life long student of the oral tradition and literature of Africa. He discussed the negritude struggle (agonistes) with Leopold S. Senghor, Aimé Césaire, and Léon Damas on several occasions. He was a friend of the Damas family while they resided in Washington, DC, and worked in Damas’s library. (Mrs. Damas asked that he oversee the Howard University funeral service for her husband and ensure that his cremation followed her wishes.) He carried his ashes to Damas’s final resting place in Guyane.
While in Dakar, President Senghor called him to discuss his article, “La Negritude et ‘conscience raciale et revolution sociale’ d’Aime Cesaire” and to ask that he lecture on the subject at the Université des Mutants on Gorée Island. In Negritude Agonistes, Assimilation against Nationalism in the French-speaking Caribbean and Guyane Filostrat presents L’Etudiant Noir... where the negritude concept first saw light in 1935. Christian Filostrat is also the author of The Beggars’ Pursuit, a novel that includes the negritude proponents’ activities in Paris, circa 1936.
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|"This book reproduces a portion of L'Etudiant Noir, vol. 1, no. 3, May-June 1935. What makes this extremely important is that most Negritude scholars today think L'Etudiant Noir folded after its first issue (vol. 1, no. 1, March 1935). And yet the existence of the May-June issue shatters this mistaken consensus and proves that there were, at the very least, 3 issues... Filostrat, citing an interview with Damas, estimates that there were 5 issues total. Won't it be exciting if we find more of them!"||"This is the most educative primer on négritude I have read. And written with clarity in mind, in an easy-to-read format. I would guess that most of the scholars and others who have had an interest in the négritude proposition already know a great deal of what is written here. I am one of them. But until this book, I did not know the exact moment of negritude's origin. The exact moment! Négritude is not just the quality of being of the African race. We find here that Aimé Césaire who was responsible for enunciating it had in mind to put négritude forward to escape France's policy of assimilation."|
— Chike Chike in a review at Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/review/
— Nathan Prim in a review at Amazon.com, http://www.amazon.com/review/
"Now thanks to you we all have it! I will tell my students about this with excitement …" personal communication with author
"Christian Filostrat has brought important new evidence to light by reproducing a missing issue of the journal "L'Etudiant noir." This book invalidates the existing consensus about the origins of the word négritude (i.e. that it was first used in the "Cahier d'un retour au pays natal") and raises exciting new questions about the intellectual and political history of the negritude movement. A must read." (at http://www.amazon.com/review/RE44QNSAPX091/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm)
—Christopher Miller, Frederick Clifford Ford Professor of French and African and Afro-American Studies, Yale University
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For the media
The Revised Birth of Negritude: Communist Revolution
and "the Immanent Negro" in 1935 (link to Indiana University flyer)
Lecture at Indiana University by Christopher L. Miller is Frederick Clifford Ford Professor of African American Studies and French at Yale University. Cites Christian Filostrat and Negritude Agonistes, Assimilation against Nationalism in the French-speaking Caribbean and Guyane.
(alternate link to PDF)