Tag Archives: French Caribbean Author

New articles on Zobel

 

This project has now been running for two years.

In addition to regularly updating the blog, I’ve appeared on TV, radio and in the UK and French Caribbean press, to report on my progress and most recent findings.

I’m currently preparing my book on Zobel – scholarly books or ‘monographs’ (a scholarly book written by one author, rather than a team of authors) require several years of research, and it’s exciting to now be at the stage where the manuscript is taking shape.

In the meantime, two other shorter pieces of my research have just been published. These were commissioned by The Literary Encyclopedia, an online resource which provides up-to-date 2500-word profiles of literary authors, works and topics. Here’s how it describes iteslf online:

“The Literary Encyclopedia is a constantly evolving and updating repository of authoritative reference work about literary and cultural history. All our articles are solicited by invitation from specialist scholars in higher education institutions all over the world, refereed and approved by subject editors in our Editorial Board. The LE is thus uniquely selective, reliable and authoritative. Its online format allows for rapid publication and frequent updating of articles; its integrated digital resources (author life-chronologies, customisable timelines, thematic or course-oriented bookshelves, related article clusters, critical bibliographies) respond dynamically to teaching and learning demands.” (source: https://www.litencyc.com/litencycdescribed.php)

I hope that these two articles will be of help to students and scholars, and anyone else with a keen interest in Zobel!

2016 Louise Hardwick, ‘Joseph Zobel’, The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 4.1.2: Francophone Writing and Culture of Central America and the Caribbean. First published 06 June 2016

2016 Louise Hardwick, La Rue Cases-Nègres, The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 4.1.2: Francophone Writing and Culture of Central America and the Caribbean. First published 06 June 2016

 

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Cardiff guest talks/Angolan book launch

It has been a very busy week. Marking dissertations, presenting research, more marking, meetings, emailing, planning…

I’ve just written an item for my University webpages giving an update on my activities, and here it is below, too:

On 25-26th April, Dr Louise Hardwick gave a guest seminar paper at Cardiff University on her current research into Joseph Zobel. The talk was part of a larger event which included a research paper on Mozambique, and a book launch for a cultural Foundation based in Angloa. Louise was invited by Dr Rhian Atkin, Lecturer in Portuguese, who organised the stimulating programme of activities!

neto

These activities were an invaluable opportunity to consider postcolonialism and the black consciousness movement of Negritude across Francophone and Lusophone contexts. Although the presentations spanned different languages and continents, the similarity of the themes discussed was striking.

After the papers, the book launch celebrated a generous donation of books about the life and works of the Angolan poet and politician Agostinho Neto. The donation was made by the Agostinho Neto Foundation, which is based in Angloa. For more about the foundation, see the @zobelproject twitter feed https://twitter.com/ZobelProject , and visit the foundation’s official website: www.faan.og.ao (in Portuguese) which currently features items on the events in Cardiff. The TV station Televisão Pública de Angola also ran stories on the launch.

The following day, to celebrate 26th April, which would have been Joseph Zobel’s 101st birthday, Louise led a workshop where she discussed her public engagment and Impact activities in Martinique, metropolitan France and the UK.

Joyeux anniversaire Joseph Zobel!

Today would have been Joseph Zobel’s 101th birthday! Thanks for stopping by to learn more about his work and legacy. For a quick introduction, you might enjoy the pages on Martinique’s history and the media links page.

Hard to believe it’s one whole year since we celebrated the centenary in Martinique! Below is a photo of me with some of the fantastic team that made it all happen. Bonjour aux Saleens! Hello to Riviere-Salee!

Today I’m in sunny Cardiff to give an invited seminar paper about Zobel’s  work.

The paper was part of a panel of talks which compared black consciousness movements across Francophone and Lusophone contexts in Africa and the Americas.

I’ve been tweeting about events @zobelproject and will add more once I’m back in my office!me and centre cult

 

New page launched: media links

I’ve been spring cleaning the blog, and have now created a new page: 08 Media links.

This page draws together my media work over the past few years.

I have been invited to discuss my work for the British, French and Caribbean media, in English and French, and you will find links to video and newspaper articles here, as well as links to other media material.

If you use these materials as teaching resources, or would like to discuss how this might be possible, please do get in touch

Don’t forget the project’s Twitter account: https://twitter.com/zobelproject

French Film Screenings…

It has been a busy end to the term! Once Easter is over, we’ll be straight into our examining and strategic planning phase. The post-Easter meetings are already stacking up, as are the research deadlines… but before then, there’s time to reflect on last week’s AHRC-supported free film screenings which took place as part of the University of Birmingham Arts and Science Festival.

These events were free and arose from partnerships between the Modern Languages Department at the University of Birmingham and local arts and cultural organisations.

The events are led by my colleague Dr Claire Peters, a Teaching Fellow in French and Francophone Studies, who was awarded funding from the AHRC Cultural Engagement fund to carry them out. Claire recently completed an AHRC thesis on Francophone Postcolonial culture.

I’m her mentor, which is a very worthwhile experience for me and allows me to share lessons learned from my own public engagement events in the UK, metropolitan France and Martinique.

My AHRC Midlands3Cities PhD student Antonia Wimbush is also part of the team as an assistant at the events, as part of her own training in public engagement.

The screening of Sugar Cane Alley / Rue Cases-Nègres [dir. Euzhan Palcy, 1983] took place on Wednesday 16th March 2016 at 4-6.30pm MAC Birmingham. We knew that the afternoon timeslot might be tough, but as this event is part of a wider University of Birmingham Arts and Science Festival, we had limited choice over the timing. That said, being part of the Festival was a wonderful opportunity, and ensured that the event was widely publicised.

01 Antonia intro Sugar Cane Alley

Antonia did a great job of introducing the film (see photo above!), and afterwards Claire hosted a Q&A session with me on my own research into Zobel. I was delighted to have so many brilliant questions from the public, which included questions on adapting the novel into a film, Palcy’s career, Zobel’s wider works (and whether there were other film adaptations… not yet…!), the influence of Fanon and wider influences such as Negritude and the Harlem Renaissance. Our colleagues at the MAC had to politely but firmly eject us from the room at the end, as the next screening was due to begin!

The following night, Thursday 17th March 2016 from 7pm-9.30pm,  Claire gave a fantastic introduction to the film Black Skin, White Mask [dir. Isaac Julien, 1996] at The Drum. The film was followed by a lively comments session with the public audience, which gave rise to some excellent reflections on issues such as race, gender, identity, intersectionality and Negritude.03 drum audience

 

The overall feedback tells us that for many people in Birmingham, this was their first encounter with the French Caribbean, and that there is a real appetite for more Francophone events like this… so (shameless plug!) watch this space for the third screening in the series, which will take place in the cinema at The Mockingbird Theatre and Bar… more details to follow after Easter!

Article in British press

A quick update, as I’m busy writing and redrafting some chapters on Zobel…

The launch of the Centre for Postcolonial Studies has been covered in an article in the British press, in the Times Higher Education.

You can read the article here: https://www.timeshighereducation.com/research-intelligence/post-colonial-studies-time-step-out-comfort-zone

Modern Languages research projects, all of which are giving rise to some really interesting public engagement work (with publics all over the world), were well represented on the day.

The Latin-American focused Quipu project, which had been previously covered in THE, received a helpful mention, and the overall article is an engaging account of a very thought-provoking event.

I’ll be discussing the article next week at a postgraduate Reading Group, known affectionately as the “Poco Reading Group”, and am looking forward to hearing what the postgraduates make of it… !

MLA at Austin, Texas

Happy New Year!

The Zobel project is on the move once again. I’m in Texas to present a research paper at the major research conference in my field, the Modern Language Association of America annual convention.

Thousands will attend this conference, which is held this year in Austin, Texas.

I’ll be speaking in a special panel on Caribbean Women, which will present four Francophone Caribbean case-studies. My fellow panellists and I will be exploring the role of women as novelists and cultural figures, as well as the representation of women in Francophone Caribbean literature and culture.

My own paper is entitled “Zobel’s Women” and I’ll argue that the depiction of women characters in Zobel’s literature is far more complex and interesting than has previously been acknowledged.

The MLA will be the biggest conference I have ever attended. Thousands register for it every year!

To prepare for it, I’ve been reading this Guest Blog by Natalie M. Houston, which is a great “Survival Guide” to academic conferences in general, and the MLA specifically! You might enjoy it too:

https://convention.commons.mla.org/guest-post/surviving-and-thriving-at-the-mla-convention?shareadraft=baba335_5682f9fa5936e

 

 

 

 

World War 1 and Caribbean

To mark 11th November, I blogged about the connections between French Caribbean author Joseph Zobel, from the island of Martinique, and WW1.

Today, I’ve updated my WW1 page (see pages, above, or click here) with information about a new online resource launched in the UK.

The Caribbean’s Great War is a Heritage Lottery funded project to highlight the involvement of the Caribbean and her people in the First World War. The West India Committee was the heart of the Caribbean’s war effort in Britain and in 1915 established the West Indian Contingent Committee in response to the British Government’s decision to raise a West Indian army. The records held by the Committee provide a rare insight into the Caribbean’s role in the First World War, and much of what is now available has not been seen for a century.

It is a great tool for exploring more about the Caribbean’s involvement in WW1. The focus is mainly Anglophone, so it provides an important comparative perspective.

See: http://westindiacommittee.org/caribbeansgreatwar/

Sugar Cane Alley screening in Leeds this Sat

In today’s blog post, I’ve included excerpts from a blog post by Dr Emily Marshall, Senior Lecturer in Postcolonial Literature in the School of Cultural Studies at Leeds Beckett University, with Emily’s kind permission.

Emily and I first met by pure coincidence at a postcolonial literature conference in 2006 here in the UK. It’s a day I remember well, and it was such a pleasure to talk to Emily about her grandfather’s work! Through Emily, I met her mother Jenny, and I have been honoured to be their ‘virtual’ colleague throughout the centenary year – we’ve exchanged lots of emails and electronic messages to keep each other updated on our activities.

Emily and Jenny will give a special introduction before screening the film Sugar Cane Alley at Leeds Town Hall on Saturday night. I’m sure it will be a very special event! I’ve been tweeting details (@zobelproject) for a couple of weeks, and you can buy tickets here: http://www.leedsfilm.com/films/sugar-cane-alley/

In a blog post which originally appeared on the Leeds Beckett University “Media Centre” blog, Emily reflects on the forthcoming screening of a film based on her grandfather Joseph Zobel’s novel, La Rue Cases-Nègres.

Emily writes:

“It is a hundred years since the birth of my grandfather, Martinican writer Joseph Zobel. While celebrations and events (in the form of conferences, workshops, commissioned art pieces and museum exhibitions) have been taking place across France, the Francophone Caribbean and French-speaking West Africa, Joseph and his novels are less well known in the UK. I wanted to contribute to the international centenary celebrations here in Leeds with the screening of an exceptional film based on his most famous semi-autobiographical novel, La Rue Cases-Nègres (1950), translated as Black Shack Alley or Sugar Cane Alley.

Sugar Cane Alley (1983) was directed by Martinican-born Euzhan Palcy when she was just 25 years old. The film won the Silver Lion award for Best First Film at the 1983 Venice International Film Festival and a César Award for Best First Feature Film in France. Palcy went on to become the first black female director of a Hollywood film for A Dry White Season (1989). With the support of the Center for Culture and the Arts at Leeds Beckett University, I worked in partnership with event organiser and film programmer for Leeds Film Festival, Laura Ager, to organise the screening. We also submitted a successful bid for the screening to be added to the ‘Being Human National Festival of the Humanities’ calendar of events.

I have only recently introduced Joseph’s novel, Black Shack Alley, alongside Palcy’s film, to my students. We examined the text on my third-year ‘Literatures of the African Diaspora’ module at Leeds Beckett – I had long been worried that my relationship to Joseph would not allow me enough critical distance to analyse his work. I was surprised by how objective I could be and also by the many positive responses and insights from my students, who enabled me to look at the novel and film from a fresh perspecive.

I am very excited about the screening of Sugar Cane Alley in Leeds as part of Leeds Film Festival and I hope it will promote debates about the impact of colonialism and colonial education, resistance to oppression, Creole culture and the effects of Empire in the postcolonial world. I also hope it will raise awareness of the impact and relevance of film and narrative on reflecting on our shared histories and influencing the way we understand our past and visualise our futures.”

You can read Emily’s longer post here: http://mediacentre.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/post/a-caribbean-childhood-sugar-cane-alley-comes-to-leeds/

I’m excited to hear more about this really important event!

11th November Armistice Day

Tomorrow is 11th November, Armistice Day, which marks the end of the First World War, and is an important time to highlight my project’s humble, but I hope insightful, contribution to WW1 commemorations.

In January 2015, I attended an event on Britain’s Black Community and the Great War, which was organised by colleages at Birmingham and Nottingham’s WW1 Engagement Centres (funded through the AHRC) for researchers and members of the wider community.

The event was held at the Library of Birmingham, one of the city’s flagship buildings and a really important community space.

It was fantastic to meet a range of speakers from community groups in the Midlands area and to learn more about figures such as the footballer Walter Tull  who fought and died in the First World War. I discussed my work on Zobel, and the event has spurred me on to think about Joseph Zobel, the French Caribbean and WW1.

As a result of this activity, I created a new blog page reflecting on WW1 and the French Caribbean. This seemed particularly important given that this project is running at a moment when across the world, commemorations are taking place to mark WW1.

I discuss the soldiers who fought from Martinique and Guadeloupe, and the references to WW1 in Zobel’s famous novel La Rue Cases-Nègres Black Shack Alley (1950):

https://josephzobel.wordpress.com/world-war-1-and-the-french-caribbean/