Please join us in congratulating Jacqueline Couti (University of Kentucky) for her latest publication: Dangerous Creole Liaisons (Liverpool University Press, May 2016). This book explores a French Caribbean context to broaden discussions of sexuality, nation building, and colonialism in the Americas.
Description: Dangerous Creole Liaisons explores a French Caribbean context to broaden discussions of sexuality, nation building, and colonialism in the Americas. Couti examines how white Creoles perceived their contributions to French nationalism through the course of the nineteenth century as they portrayed sexualized female bodies and sexual and racial difference to advance their political ideologies. Questioning their exhilarating exoticism and titillating eroticism underscores the ambiguous celebration of the Creole woman as both seductress and an object of lust. She embodies the Caribbean as a space of desire and a political site of contest that reflects colonial, slave and post-slave societies. The under-researched white Creole writers and non-Caribbean authors (such as Lafcadio Hearn) who traveled to and wrote about these islands offer an intriguing gendering and sexualization of colonial and nationalist discourses. Their use of the floating motif of the female body as the nation exposes a cultural cross-pollination, an intense dialogue of political identity between continental France and her Caribbean colonies. Couti suggests that this cross-pollination still persists. Eventually, representations of Creole women’s bodies (white and black) bring two competing conceptions of nationalism into play: a local, bounded, French nationalism against a transatlantic and more fluid nationalism that included the Antilles in a “greater France.”
Jacqueline Couti is an associate professor of French and Francophone Studies at the University of Kentucky. She examines the literary appropriation of eroticized images of bodies for the promotion and propagation of identity politics and nationalistic awareness in former French colonies from the Caribbean and West Africa.