Tag Archives: Joseph Zobel

Schools Collaboration: Teaching Zobel & Le monde francophone

In the last few months, Zobel Project has been focusing on a new phase of collaboration with local schools. It has been wonderful to work with local teachers to develop and trial  resources on “Zobel & le monde francophone”.

Here’s a write up of recent activites – you can also read this report on the University of Birmingham webpage.

Collaboration with University of Birmingham: the Zobel Project

Local French teachers are collaborating with researchers at the University of Birmingham to develop new teaching materials to inspire pupils to learn French, at school and beyond.  Modern Languages study is an exciting and strategic choice, as graduates enjoy excellent employment prospects, with 90% entering work or further study within 6 months of graduation.

The new teaching materials reposition French as an internationally significant language, offering pupils the chance to learn about French in North America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. To challenge pupils’ perceptions of French as a European language, the teaching materials develop a case study of a renowned French Caribbean author, Joseph Zobel.  1 teacher workshop Jun 17

Throughout 2017, French teachers throughout Birmingham have been providing feedback on Zobel Project teaching materials at meetings, workshops and networking events on campus. A group of local teachers have taken on leadership roles as Project Advisors: Clare Haley (University of Birmingham School, Selly Oak), Dennis Preware (George Salter Academy, West Bromwich), Amy Whetstone (King Edwards VI, Aston) and Raheem Zafar (Holte School, Lozells).

The teaching materials have been developed as part of a research project on Joseph Zobel led by Dr Louise Hardwick, Reader in Francophone Postcolonial Studies in the Department of Modern Languages. The research is UK Government funded through the Arts & Humanities Research Council, as part of the priority area ‘Translating Cultures’. To date, Zobel Project has involved communities in the Caribbean, France and UK, and activities are recorded on the project blog: www.josephzobel.wordpress.com

A CPD workshop held at the University of Birmingham campus in June 2017 (pictured) offered the Project Advisor teachers a guided demonstration of the materials from the research team. The teachers provided detailed, invaluable feedback, drawing on their own extensive experience of teaching French in Birmingham schools.2 teacher workshop Jun 17

The workshop led to lively discussions, with excellent feedback and practical suggestions about maximising the compatibility of the resources with the National Curriculum.

As part of this flagship collaboration with University of Birmingham French researchers, in the academic year 2017–2018, Zobel Project resources will be trialled in schools. The Project Advisor teachers will continue to play a leading role in trialling resources and gathering data. This important collaboration strengthens the connections between the University of Birmingham, the University of Birmingham School, and wider schools in the local community.

Find out more about the excellent employability prospects enjoyed by Modern Languages graduates in this University of Birmingham ‘Why Study Languages?’ video: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/languages/news/2016/excellent-employability.aspx

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

 

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!

Visiting Fellowship at Emory University, Atlanta

The Zobel project is on the move once again… special greetings to any new readers of this blog who are in Atlanta, Georgia! It is a privilege to be here. DSC02022

I am currently working in Atlanta as a Visiting Fellow at Emory University, where I am based in the Department of French and Italian. This is a wonderful chance for me to exchange more transatlantic perspectives on Zobel and his legacy, and was an activity I planned when I submitted my AHRC Early Career Leadership Fellowship application in 2013.

Zobel is widely taught across the US, through text and film, and my time in Atlanta gives me an invaluable opportunity to understand how he is taught, and to discuss possible new approaches to teaching his work based on my new research findings with my American colleagues.

Over the past few days, I’ve taught classes on Zobel and on Caribbean literature more generally with my colleague Prof. Valérie Loichot, an expert on Francophone Caribbean literature whose latest book The Tropics Bite Back: Culinary Coups in Caribbean Literature was awarded the Modern Language Association of America’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize earlier this year. It is a fascinating study and Valérie’s insights into food are particularly interesting to me in the light of my own recent work on ecocriticism and food security in Martinique.

I’ve been explaining my pDSC02161roject to faculty members and to students, and this helps me to think about how I present my research to different audiences.

It’s an excellent chance to discuss my past activities – from the Paris Salon du Livre to my work in April for the Zobel Centenary in Rivière-Salée in Martinique, to my ‘Indiana Jones moment’ at the British Library in London.

Next week, I’ll also be working with Prof. Michael Wiedorn at Georgia Institute of Technology, and I’m looking forward to meeting colleagues and students there!

I am also preparing to give research seminars and am really impressed at the quality of the poster produced by a graduate student at Emory – here it is!

poster

Flash-back: Zobel Centenary launch in Martinique

Here’s part two of the photo narrative I have produced to document my work with local communities on the legacy of Zobel (part one was in my last blog post).

Zobel activities have certainly kept me pretty busy over these past 12 months…!

I have learned so much from these opportunities to exchange and collaborate with partners all over the world, and cannot thank them enough! I hope you will enjoy this record.

me and centre cult

Me with members of the Zobel Centenary Team after my talk and Q&A session at the cultural centre in Rivière-Salée. My PhD student Antonia was also in the audience!

002 me at lycee jz 003 me at lycee jz

Speaking to a packed auditorium at the Joseph Zobel High School in Rivière-Salée – it was fantastic to see the local school pupils take such an interest in Zobel

004 me at college GE

Daunting but an incredible challenge – taking the floor to speak at the whole school Zobel centenary celebrations at the middle school College Georges-Elisabeth in Rivière-Salée!

005 me and raphaelle

Me with librarian Rapaelle Bouville, with whom I co-organized a Zobel exhibition at the Médiathèque de Rivière-Salée

006 me on atv

Me speaking on ATV Martinique evening news – watch again here: http://www.atv.mq/replay_trois-questions-a_9-2867_louise-hardwick-professeur-de-francais-et-chercheuse-en-angleterre.html

007 me on zouk tv

Straight after ATV was recorded, I was driven off to speak on Le Mag Littéraire on ZoukTV for a special programme on Zobel

008 me at march

The community Nocturnal Parade marking Zobel’s centenary – I was asked to walk up front, next to the Mayor of Rivière-Salée, which was an incredible honour.

Talk in London next week

On Friday 17th July, I will be giving a talk (in English) on Joseph Zobel at the British Library in London. The talk forms part of my collaboration with the British Library, particularly the team in the Eccles Centre, and we have been planning it for some time.

I am really looking forward to talking about my research into Martinique at the British Library, and will reveal all about a mystery image of Martinique which holds an unexpected lost connection with Zobel! I’ve been putting out some teasers on Twitter about this: https://twitter.com/ZobelProject

Here’s a short description of Friday’s talk:

  • Joseph Zobel, French Caribbean author

Louise Hardwick discusses Joseph Zobel’s work and its contribution to understandings of Négritude, colonialism and post-slavery Martinique.

I’m excited to have a chance to share my various Zobel-related adventures, from archives to school visits, in Martinique and France over the past few months with audiences in the UK. The talk takes place take place between 12.30-14.00 in the Bronte Room, British Library Conference Centre, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB You can find a summary of my talk here: http://www.bl.uk/eccles/events.html And you can book a free ticket, which includes tea and coffee, here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/eccles-centre-summer-scholars-series-2015-8254723394 Venez nombreux!

Visiting Maryse Condé and Richard Philcox

Recently, I was lucky enough to see Maryse Conde and Richard Philcox in London. Maryse was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize this year, and we talked about her recent work, including Mets et Merveilles which has just been published.

We also discussed my project on Zobel. Maryse and Richard remembered meeting Zobel in Africa, although they did not know each other well.

In her childhood memoir, Le Coeur à rire et à pleurer (1999) / Tales from the Heart (trans), Maryse’s first encounter with  Zobel’s literature is a pivotal episode which I really enjoy teaching to the students on my University course. After having read La Rue Cases-Nègres with me first, it is always interesting to see how they react to Maryse’s own discovery of the text. In the same book, Maryse makes a comment which has inspired me to delve deeper into Zobel’s work and life: “La lecture de Joseph Zobel, plus que des discours théoriques, m’a ouvert les yeux” (p. 103)

I won’t be updating the blog for a few weeks now, so I’ll leave you with some video material. In 2010, Maryse and Richard accepted my invitation to give Guest Lectures at the University of Birmingham, and you can watch all of Maryse’s lecture by clicking here: http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/french/events/2010/maryse-conde-lecture.aspx

Summary of activities in Martinique

Since I returned from Martinique, I haven’t had much free time to update the blog! I have given an invited seminar paper on Joseph Zobel at the University of Nottingham, and then last week was in London to discuss my project with colleagues at the British Library, where I’ll be giving a talk on Zobel in July (more on that in a future blog post…).

I’ve also begun reflecting on the activities I undertook in Martinique in April for the launch of the ‘Year of Zobel’ marking Zobel’s centenary, and have produced this summary of my fieldwork:

Dr Louise Hardwick has just returned from AHRC fieldwork in Martinique in the French Caribbean, where she undertook archival research and was an invited speaker at the festivities marking the centenary of author Joseph Zobel’s birth.

For the past two years, Louise has been preparing the centenary in collaboration with colleagues in Martinique, thinking about how her contribution can help to change the way that people in Martinique understand Zobel’s works. One of the key aims of the centenary visit was to discuss Zobel’s international reputation with Martinicans. Many Martinicans are unaware that he is a literary ambassador for the island and its rich culture.

In Rivière-Salée, where Zobel was born, there was keen public interest in Louise’s work. With the help of her University students, Louise contributed to an exhibition on Zobel at the Médiathèque de Rivière-Salée, a high-tech public library. Louise asked her students for their opinions of studying Zobel, and used the information in the exhibition to show young Martinicans that their literature is influencing young people at the throughout the world.

Louise was welcomed to Rivière-Salée by the Mayor, Andre Lesueur, and was invited to give a public talk to launch the town’s celebrations, which led to a lively debate and some great audience feedback.

At her school presentations, what better way to introduce pupils to Birmingham than by letting them know that the University welcomed the 2012 Jamaican Track and Field team.

Louise gave a presentation to 100 school pupils at the Lycée Joseph Zobel in Rivière-Salée, a school named after Zobel which holds an annual “Joseph Zobel Week”. She also spoke to 700 pupils at the middle school Collège George-Elisabeth during their whole-school celebrations of Joseph Zobel’s centenary.

The launch of the
The launch of the “Year of Zobel” at la villa Laguerre in Petit-Bourg
M. le Maire Andre Lesueur launches
The Mayor of Rivière-Salée, André Lesueur, launches “Joseph Zobel week” at Joseph Zobel High School
The Mediatheque - a high-tech public library - in Riviere-Salee
The Mediatheque – a high-tech public library – in Riviere-Salee (for some reason, WordPress won’t accept accents in my captions any more, although it did above!?!)
Louise with Raphaelle Bouville, her collaborator at the Mediatheque in Riviere-Salee, in front of the exhibition panels that Louise and her Birmingham students helped to create
Louise with Raphaelle Bouville, her collaborator at the Mediatheque in Riviere-Salee, in front of the exhibition panels that Louise and her Birmingham students helped to create

This report can also be viewed at:

http://www.birmingham.ac.uk/schools/lcahm/departments/french/news/2015/hardwick-zobel-centenary.aspx 

Summary en français of my public talk in Rivière-Salée

I have received the following write-up of the talk I gave at Rivière-Salée’s Centre Culturel last week, and with the kind permission of the author, who is an MA student at the University of the Antilles, I have reprocuced it below.

It was a pleasure and a privilege to share my work on Rivière-Salée’s most famous author in his place of birth.

Thank you for this summary, Françoise, I am delighted you enjoyed my talk!

Bonne lecture!

J’ai assisté ce mercredi 22 avril à une conférence sur Joseph Zobel, dans son fief natal, à l’occasion du centenaire de la naissance d’un « petit nègre de Petit-Bourg » dont le génie littéraire a été traduit dans le monde entier. C’était un avant-gardiste de la Négritude et de la Créolité, et il a trouvé en Louise Hardwick, enseignante-chercheur à l’université de Birmingham, en Angleterre, une grande spécialiste de son œuvre.

Zobel, Césaire, Fanon et Glissant ont été de grands hommes dont les écrits représentent une richesse étonnante de la culture antillaise et ont permis de faire rayonner la Martinique à l’étranger. Si Aimé Césaire est le plus connu, son ami, Joseph Zobel a une place de choix dans le cœur des Martiniquais, et plus particulièrement des Saléens.

C’était très impressionnant de rencontrer « une étrangère » venir parler avec autant de fascination et de passion d’un “enfant du pays” à travers la littérature qu’il a léguée aux générations suivantes. Louise Hardwick prépare un ouvrage sur cet écrivain majeur afin de faire découvrir au plus grand nombre la portée de l’œuvre d’un génie né il y a cent ans, sur les terres salées.

Ce qui fut enrichissant, c’est sa réflexion “écocritique” sur la relation de Zobel avec la terre (jardin créole et morne). Cette enseignante-chercheur de passage sur l’île jusqu’au 29 avril vaut la peine d’être écoutée. Sa maîtrise du français est remarquable.

 

Amicalement, Françoise DUVAL

Etudiante en Maîtrise à l’Université des Antilles 

This week – launch of the Year of Zobel in Martinique

I am honoured that Rivière-Salée invited me to give the opening talk for the Year of Zobel.

Thank you to all who attended the Centre culturel in Rivière-Salée on 22 April!

My talk was in French, and was called “Joseph Zobel, le romancier de la Négritude”? I was delighted to be able to answer so many questions from the audience afterwards – thank you for this enthusiastic exchange!

And today it was a pleasure to speak at the Collège Georges Elisabeth during their “Hommage à Joseph Zobel” – congratulations to all the pupils who took part, and to all those who attended!

But it’s not over… If you are near a TV in Martinique tonight I’ll be speaking about Zobel on ATV for the programme “3 Questions à”…(3 Questions for…) and then on Zouk TV for a special episode on Zobel.

Follow updates on Twitter @Zobelproject

https://twitter.com/ZobelProject