International Colloquium—Édouard Glissant and “Le Discours antillais”


The International Center for Studies on Édouard Glissant and the Institut du Tout-Monde will host its first international colloquium in 2019—«Édouard Glissant et Le Discours antillais: la source et le delta» [Édouard Glissant and Caribbean Discourse: The Spring and the Delta]. The colloquium—dedicated to the most widely read, translated, and studied essay in the world at the center of Édouard Glissant’s conceptual work: Le Discours antillais (Seuil, 1981)—will take place in three sessions at Maison de l’Amérique latine (Paris), University of Cambridge (Magdalene College), and Université des Antilles (Martinique, Guadeloupe), “thus tracing a rhizome of glissantian reading.”

This conference series also includes an exhibition—“Le Discours antillais d’Edouard Glissant: Traces et paysages” [Edouard Glissant’s Caribbean Discourse: Traces and Landscapes]—hosted by the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (FMSH) from April 23 to May 7, 2019, in Paris.

First session: FMSH, Maison de l’Amérique latine, Paris, April 25-28, 2019

Second session: Université de Cambridge (Magdalene College), June 2019

Third session: Université des Antilles (Martinique, Guadeloupe), November 5-6, 2019

Description: The critical wealth that Le Discours antillais [Caribbean Discourse] had and still has, in terms of the reception of Édouard Glissant’s conceptual work, surely owes a great deal to the exhaustive nature of the study, completely positioned in its inspiration and its intellectual ambition, under Frantz Fanon’s epigraph, “a colossal task that inventory of the real.” However, this aspect also produced amazement when the book was published by Seuil in 1981. This ambition to embrace the reality of Caribbean society also baffled due to the freedom of its method, this “methodological boldness” claimed by the one who already had a literary work behind him. This double effect in itself expresses a fascination and astonishment that has never ended since publication, exceeding all classification. This paradox of critical reception undoubtedly also indicates the difficulty of correctly perceiving the positioning of this work in Édouard Glissant’s thought, which we later noted could only be appreciated at the discretion of the paradigm of movement.

This reflection was identified with this movement, throughout the, often unpredictable, elaborations of the work. How to understand, for example—at the mercy of this movement—this moment of “Caribbeanness,” with regard to the creolization carried out with greater intensity in the early 90s? This is one of the many questions in play in the necessary re-readings of Le Discours antillais [Caribbean Discourse], which the symposium will try to stimulate along several axes. [. . .]

In general, we will refrain from considering Le Discours antillais [Caribbean Discourse] separately from the rest of Édouard Glissant’s work, whether related to subsequent speculative developments or a view of the world in the broad sense that has continued to produce intense and numerous ramifications. The aim is to propose a re-reading of the essay at the foundation of the writer’s corpus, and to explore its relevance to today’s world. [. . .]

[Excerpts translated by Ivette Romero. For complete call for submissions, information on the organizing committee, and guidelines (in French), see

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