Current Students

Maeva McComb

Over the past two decades, critics have problematised the foundations and applications of postcolonial theory and have increasingly censured it for obliterating the specificities of ex-colonial spaces. Traditionally emerging from metropolitan territories, postcolonial theory seemingly replicates the uneven power relationships it denounces. My thesis will argue for an ethical rethinking of postcolonial theorisation, working from the hypothesis that this can be achieved by integrating travel and mobility theory into postcolonial theory. Indeed, with its brutal history of transplantation, slavery and migration, French colonialism was founded on displacement, thus rendering the experience of the Caribbean subject one of travel and exile. This research will focus on four Francophone authors who have been neglected or read through a restricted lens: Martinicans Joseph Zobel and Suzanne Césaire, Guadeloupian Guy Tirolien, and Guyanese René Maran. Born pre-1930s, all have experienced displacement, (forced or voluntary) exile to France, the United States or Africa, and have participated in the first literary black diaspora; thus problematising any sense of cultural belonging. How did their movements challenge France's hegemonic culture and identity? How do their works prompt the re-evaluation of postcolonial theory? This project aims to celebrate the dynamism of Francophone Caribbean literature as well as its diversity.

Supervisory Team: Dr Maeve McCusker, Modern Languages (QUB), Prof. Margaret Topping, Modern Languages (QUB).

Start Date: October 2015.