Alterity & Marginality: Representation of Indigenous Peoples, Africans and Afro-descendants in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Black Atlantic


The doctoral candidates of the Centre aixois d’études romanes (CAER) and the l’Institut des Mondes Africains (IMAF-Aix) are hosting a seminar—Altérité & marginalité: la représentation des indigènes, Africains et afro-descendants en Amérique Latine, dans les Caraïbes et dans l’Atlantique Noir [Alterity & Marginality: representation of Indigenous Peoples, Africans and Afro-descendants in Latin America, the Caribbean and the Black Atlantic]. The seminar will center on theme of the representation of the Other in Latin American and Caribbean societies and their exchanges with African societies in the context of the Black Atlantic. It will take place May 22, 2018, in Aix-en-Provence, France.

Description (excerpts): The main idea is to question the combinatorial forms of the imaginary, otherness and the margin, the latter understood as a place of production and theme of representation in the cultural, artistic, social and historical contexts of these societies. Through possible exchanges between these various geographical and cultural areas, it is also a question of analyzing the strategies developed to represent otherness and marginality from a hegemonic space, be it discursive, institutional, cultural, symbolic, etc. Within this thematic standpoint, the conceptual reflection on notions such as identity, marginality, créolité, Africanism and nativism aims to understand the aesthetic, social and historical recovery of myths of origins, representations of the world, indigenous cosmologies, memory of slavery and the deportation of Africans to the Americas, among others. This discussion will aim to bring out the archetypal patterns of the imaginary of otherness in the rewriting of historical and social facts from the perspective of the margins as well as through the study of the relationship between the word and power. Similarly, it will be possible to consider possible ways of thinking about the methodology to adopt when these cultural productions are analyzed and / or manufactured from a European point of view.

The Other and the Margin

Notions of the other and the margin maintain close links in the representation of Latin American societies. Indeed, this geographical and cultural area presents a privileged field for the analysis and study of the imaginary of otherness and, consequently, of so-called “marginal” cultural and intellectual production. A shared history, particularly with regard to European colonization, the domination and exploitation of native populations as well as diasporic memories—the major consequences of slavery of Africans—characterizes the different spaces of Latin America.

This shared historical and social context deeply marks the representation of an individual, a character or a community perceived as different, as Other. It is the same for the space of discursive production (textual or visual). In other words, the center—from which the dominant discourses emanate—is established by the producer of this hegemonic discourse. The question of the center and the hegemonic discourse about the Other is the bedrock of a post-colonial reflection in the human and social sciences as well as in literary and artistic studies. [. . .]

[Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero.] For full text (in French), see

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