New Books—“Sex, Sea, and Self: Sexuality and Nationalism in French Caribbean Discourse”

Jacqueline Couti’s Sex, Sea, and Self: Sexuality and Nationalism in French Caribbean Discourse, 1924-1948 has just been published (September 2021) by Liverpool University Press. The author analyzes work by authors from Martinique and Guadeloupe to examine the place of French Caribbean literature in current postcolonial thought and visions of the Black Atlantic.

Anny Dominique Curtius (University of Iowa) writes, “Sex, Sea and Self brings cutting-edge critical analyses of overlooked texts to a broad scholarly audience. It is a timely and original contribution to French Caribbean studies.”

Description:  Sex, Sea, and Self reassesses the place of the French Antilles and French Caribbean literature within current postcolonial thought and visions of the Black Atlantic. Using a feminist lens, this study examines neglected twentieth-century French texts by Black writers from Martinique and Guadeloupe, making the analysis of some of these texts available to readers of English for the first time. This interdisciplinary study of female and male authors reconsiders their political strategies and the critical role of French creoles in the creation of their own history. This approach recalibrates overly simplistic understandings of the victimization and alienation of French Caribbean people. In the systems of cultural production under consideration, sexuality constitutes an instrument of political and cultural consciousness in the chaotic period between 1924 and 1948. Studying sexual imagery constructed around female bodies demonstrates the significance of agency and the legacy of the past in cultural resistance and political awareness. Sex, Sea, and Self particularly highlights Antillean women intellectuals’ theoretical contributions to Caribbean critical theory. Therefore, this analysis illuminates debates on the multifaceted and conflicted relationships between France and its overseas departments and expands ideas of nationhood in the Black Atlantic and the Americas.

Jacqueline Couti is professor of French Studies at Rice University, Houston, Texas.

For more information, see https://liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk/books/id/55088

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