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Ecocriticism: New article published

What really matters in life? What are the real ‘products’ or ‘items’ of essential importance, and how can we recognise and protect them? The ideas were widely discussed during the 2009 strikes in the Francophone Caribbean.

For my analysis of this important recent moment in Francophone Caribbean history, and the insights it provides on attitudes to work, play, and the environment, see my most recent article, which has just been published and is available online for free.

Here’s the abstract:

This article undertakes a cultural and political examination of the Manifeste pour les ‘produits’ de haute nécessité, a manifesto co-authored by a collective of leading Martiniquan cultural figures, including Patrick Chamoiseau and Édouard Glissant, in response to the general strikes of 2009 in Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and Réunion. These strikes focused metropolitan attention on the high cost of living or ‘la vie chère’. After a discussion of the aesthetics of the manifesto, with particular attention to the dichotomy it develops between le prosaïque and le poétique and the wider role of culture in challenging neo-liberalism’s global hold which is advanced by the Manifesto, this article introduces the new methodology of biopolitical ecocriticism. A biopolitical ecocritical reading of the manifesto, building on the biopolitical work of Foucault through reference to ecocriticism and the philosophical works of Edgar Morin and André Gorz, reveals the fundamental links between global governance and natural life, raising urgent questions about the relationship between language, life, the environment, history, and politics.

And here’s the link to the article: http://fs.oxfordjournals.org/content/70/3/362

I’ll leave you with this for a couple of weeks, as Zobelproject is taking its annual break! See you in September!

Bonsoir from Madinina!

A quick post as I don’t have regular email access – the centenary events in Martinique to mark Joseph Zobel’s birth have got off to a wonderful start!

On Friday, I was invited by the Mayor of Rivière-Salée, André Lesueur, to attend the opening ceremony in Riviere-Salee. It was a moving tribute with live music from a conch shell orchestra and readings from Zobel’s work, particularly Laghia de la mort, accompanied by a tambour drummer. This really brought the story to life! Monsieur Lesueur gave an excellent opening speech which really encouraged everyone to read and appreciate Joseph Zobel. This was followed by two videos, one recreating the lives of cane workers from the petite-bandes to the contremaitre, which succeeded in mixing humour and poignant reflections on what life was like ‘an tan lontan’. The second video was recorded by Jenny Zobel who, unable to attend in person for professional reasons, gave a warm and sincere address to the Saléens assembled in memory of her father.

Today I was at the Lycée Josph Zobel centenary opening event and it was fantastic to meet the pupils there and see the unveiling of a new plaque in Joseph Zobel’s honnour. We then visited the fantastic exhibition prepared by pupils with the hep of Raphaelle Bouville: I’ll be back to talk to them about my work on Zobel tomorrow and have been busy preparing…

Local newspapers and radio stations have done interviews, and I’ll post links when the interviews appear! I can’t thank my friends in Riviere-salee enough for working in such close collaboration with me, particularly Raphaelle Bouville at the Médiathèque!