Prof. Cheikh Ndiaye

Union College Department of Modern Languages

Studies in the French Caribbean


This course is about the French speaking Caribbean islands with a focus on Martinique. In the Caribbean where Haiti has been independent since the early 1800s, and Martinique and Guadeloupe have opted for “ambiguous” status as French Departments also known as DOM-TOMs (Departements d’Outre Mer - Territoires d’Outre-Mer), the question of identity is complicated by the syncretistic mixture of African, European, and Ameridian meanings and tongues. In this course, we will approach those complexities by considering some of Martinique’s world-renown authors, including Aimé Césaire, Ina Césaire, Frantz Fanon, Patrick Chamoiseau, Edouard Glissant, and Joseph Zobel. Most of the themes under study will relate to race, gender, social classes, religion and politics. Students willing to participate in our Winter mini-term in Martinique as well as those who are taking this class for another reason will come to see Martinique with a lens that is not that of a tourist.

Class Project: Each student is expected to participate in the construction of a webpage on Martinique towards the end of the term, a kind of virtual travel agency for the culturally curious traveler (who is not a mere tourist), one filled with text, images and sounds (in French, bien sûr!).

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