of, having, or belonging to a population using French as its first or sometimes second language
WRITING REVENANTS: Corporealizing Memory in the Francophone Theater of Wajdi Mouawad
Watson, Rachel Morris. “WRITING REVENANTS: Corporealizing Memory in the Francophone Theater of Wajdi Mouawad”. Working Paper. Web. Full TextAbstract
The corporeality of language is primordial in theater: the intersection of body and text is essential to performance. In Western theater traditions, from Ancient Greek tragedy to contemporary French and Francophone political theater, the body, more specifically the dead body (by way of murder, war, or sacrifice) is also frequently the point of departure for dramatic conflict and eventual moral or political reflection. In the tetralogy Le sang des promesses, by the Canadian-Lebanese playwright Wajdi Mouawad, revenants, the corps(es) of characters, haunt the stage. Using Incendies, the second play of the series, as a case study, this paper examines the importance of the corps(e) and its connection to writing in Mouawad’s work. The staging of the revenant in Incendies creates a memory space for those lost to real-life geopolitical conflicts. The re-membering of this body, through the writing of and embodiment on stage of this corpse’s members, aims to purge the individual and collective pain of sociopolitical trauma. Additionally, the revenant fractures temporal space and linear narrative, creating a thickness of time, space, and récit by comingling present and past. The dramatic action and the textual tissue of the play are determined by the presence, physical and metaphorical, of this body. Finally, the paper asserts that, in Incendies, an equivalence is established between the practice of writing and our ability to bury our dead, to allow the corpses and our collective conscious to rest in peace through textual remembrance.

Author Bio

Rachel Morris Watson is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of French Literature, Thought, and Culture of New York University,where she studies 20th and 21st century French and Francophone theatre, text and performance. Her current interests include theories of textuality and embodiment as they relate to dramatic writing and performance.

M'Barek, Asma. “ÉCRITURE DU CORPS ET ETHIQUES DU CARE DANS RU DE KIM THÚY”. Working Paper. Web. Full TextAbstract

D’origine vietnamienne, née à Saigon en 1968 et arrivée à Montréal à l’âge de dix ans avec les boat people, Kim Thùy a conquis un large public grâce à son premier roman Ru (2009). La narratrice, Nguyễn An Tịnh, y évoque la façon dont sa famille et elle ont fui le Vietnam, voyagé en mer sur une embarcation de fortune et séjourné dans un camp de réfugiés en Malaisie avant leur arrivée au Canada.

Ce qui est intéressant, c’est que l’arrachement au pays natal et les traumatismes qui s’en sont suivis sont représentés essentiellement à travers la vulnérabilité du corps. Il suffit, pour s’en convaincre, d’observer le rôle dévolu à la miction et à la défécation dans le texte. En ce sens, l’écriture de Kim Thùy relève des éthiques du care dans la mesure où elle « appelle notre attention sur ce qui est juste sous nos yeux, mais que nous ne voyons pas, par manque d’attention tout simplement, ou mépris » (Laugier 2009). De surcroît, en optant pour une esthétique parcellaire, fragmentaire, l’auteure inscrit la vulnérabilité non seulement au cœur, mais aussi dans le corps même du texte.

Dans le présent article, je me propose d’examiner les liens que le texte tisse entre corporéité et postures du care. Je tenterai notamment de montrer comment l’attention accrue à la singularité des corps permet une « reconfiguration de l'expérience commune du sensible » (Rancière 2008).

Author Bio

Asma M’Barek est doctorante à l’Université de l’Alberta (Edmonton, Canada), chargée de cours à la faculté Saint-Jean et chercheuse associée au Centre de littérature canadienne de l’Université de l’Alberta.

BORDER QUEERS: WRITING THE GENDER OF BOUNDARIES - A comparative reading of Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera and Ananda Devi’s Ève de ses décombres
Bellei, Francesca. “BORDER QUEERS: WRITING THE GENDER OF BOUNDARIES - A comparative reading of Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera and Ananda Devi’s Ève de ses décombres”. Working Paper. Web. Full TextAbstract

Borders have traditionally been seen as places where people and cultures mix and bleed into one another, even though they exist to prevent exactly such an exchange. How can we reconcile the ambiguous nature of the border as that which forbids entry whilst generating both a point of access and the desire for it? I will explore this paradox through a comparative study of Ananda Devi’s Ève de ses décombres, and Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera. Ève and Gloria are two women on the edge of their communities. As bilingual, biracial and gay/bisexual women they don’t fit in on either side of the wall; my thesis is that they become the wall itself. In Anzaldúa’s text, the US-Mexico border is described as an “open wound” which “staking fence rods in my flesh, / splits me splits me”: a body both active and passive, a phallic serpent which she erects as the symbol of her womanhood. Similarly, Ève closes in like a wall around all those who fall for her and prevents them from escaping Troumaron, while she is herself besieged, and her body is a wall where everyone leaves their mark. Are the ruins of the title her own, or just the rubble she leaves behind? By reading Devi and Anzaldúa through classic works of postcolonial and queer theory, I want to uncover whether and to what extent borders can be read (and written) as hybrid bodies or whether they demand permanent crossing over.

Author Bio

Francesca Bellei is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at Harvard University. She holds a BA in Classics from the University of Cambridge and an MLitt in Creative Writing from the University of St Andrews. Her research interests include queer, feminist and migration theory, as well as postcolonial and Mediterranean studies.

APHASIA, APHONIA, AND ALTERNATE ARTICULATIONS: Francophone Polyphonic Narratives and Assia Djebar’s L’amour, la fantasia
Geng, Zhe. “APHASIA, APHONIA, AND ALTERNATE ARTICULATIONS: Francophone Polyphonic Narratives and Assia Djebar’s L’amour, la fantasia”. Working Paper. Web. Full TextAbstract

Gayatri Spivak’s seminal essay, “Can the Subaltern Speak?,” assumes that subaltern speech can be physically produced but cannot be “heard” or circulated without becoming complicit in the task of imperialism. How then, can we understand the inability to physically produce articulate vocal utterance within the postcolonial context? If the voice, or the ability to articulate coherently is privileged, what then, is the place of inarticulations in a landscape fixated on retrieving and rehabilitating the articulate voice? How is language implicated in silence or in inarticulate vocal expression such as the incoherent cry or wail? This paper examines the question: can the subaltern physically speak? By interrogating how the disruptive forces of aphasia, aphonia, and “alternate articulations” work within the polyphonic narrative technique of L’amour, la fantasia (1985) by Assia Djebar, this paper argues that focusing upon physical (bodily) processes of producing inarticulate utterances and silence intervenes in the task of speaking and writing in the colonizer’s language.

Author Bio

Zhe Geng is a third year PhD student in the Department of Comparative Literature at Harvard University. She works on Transnational Anglophone, Sinophone, Japanese, and Francophone literature with a focus on Asian American literature.