Francophone Cultures and Geographies of Identity

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This collection of original essays challenges French-centered conceptions of francophonie as the shaping force of the production and study of the French language, literature, culture, film, and art both inside and outside mainland France. The traditional view of francophone cultural productions as offshoots of their hexagonal avatar is replaced by a pluricentric conception that reads interrelated aspects of francophonie as products of specific contexts, conditions, and local ecologies that emerged from post/colonial encounters with France and other colonizing powers. The twenty-one papers grouped into six thematic parts focus on distinctive literary, linguistic, musical, cinematographic, and visual forms of expression in geographical areas long defined as the peripheries of the French-speaking world: the Caribbean, the Indian Ocean, the Maghreb, sub-Saharan Africa, Quebec, and hexagonal cities with a preponderance of immigrant populations. These contested sites of French collective identity offer a rich formulation of distinctly local, francophone identities that do not fit in with concepts of linguistic and ethnic exclusiveness, but are consistent with a pluralistic demographic shift and the true face of Frenchness that is, indeed, plural.