La Banalité de l’Exclusion. Autopsie in vivo de quelques Romans d’Auteures Caribéennes et Subsahariennes (Condé, Mukasonga, Danticat et Miano)
Mefoude Obiono, Sandra
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Mefoude Obiono, Sandra
“La banalité de l’exclusion. Autopsie in vivo de quelques romans d’auteures caribéennes et subsahariennes (Condé, Mukasonga, Danticat et Miano)” examines the complex logics examines the complex logics of social exclusion and connects writings from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean, two sites often treated separately in the domain of Francophone studies. Precisely, this dissertation addresses how exclusion unfolds in these postcolonial societies—with migration, exile, and globalization echoed in the literary texts that I read. My argument is that our understanding of social exclusion and violence in these societies still draws solely from homogenizing development theories that originate outside of them. Re-theorizing social exclusion, I show in my work how these texts portray acts of social exclusion and violence through such insidious categories as geography, origins and lineage, as well as personal history, and local traditions and practices, that contribute to the making of misfits and outcasts, and yet remain overlooked in most attempts to address social exclusion in these specific locations. In navigating these relationships between social situations and literary form, I engage with psychology, social theory, and also physiology as I resort to autophagy (from the Greek “auto” meaning self and “phagy” meaning eating), a physiological process in the body that destroys cells to analogically demonstrate that by nurturing destructive behaviors these societies jeopardize chances to reach national cohesion and therefore contribute to their own destruction. The various chapters analyze texts by women writers: French Guadeloupian Maryse Condé, Haitian-American Edwidge Danticat, Rwandan French Scholastique Mukasonga, and Cameroonian French Léonora Miano. Self-critical agents of their communities, their act of bearing witness to these disruptions from a decentered position becomes highly problematic specifically for Danticat and Miano, as their legitimacy is challenged by resisting readers from their countries of origin who see their hyphenated selves as outsiders and traitors. But, hardly discouraged, these authors demonstrate the need for a renewed social response in writing that is provocative, with a rhetoric that resists the obsolete framing of fault and responsibility as always the Other’s.