Gender and the Spatiality of Blackness in Contemporary AfroFrench Narratives
This book approaches the study of AfroEurope through narrative forms produced in contemporary France, a location which richly illustrates race in European spaces.
The book adopts a transdisciplinary lens that combines critical black and urban geographies, intersectional feminism, and textual analysis to explore the spatial negotiations of black women in France. It assesses literature, film, and music as narrative forms and engages with the sociocultural and political contexts from which they emerge. Through the figure of the black flâneuse and the analytical framework of "walking as method", the book goes beneath spectacular representations of ghettoised banlieues, televised protests, and shipwrecked migrants to analyse the spatiality of blackness in the everyday. It argues that the material-discursive framing of black flânerie, as both relational and embodied movements, renders visible a politics of place embedded in everyday micro-struggles of raced-sexed subjects.
Foregrounding expressive modes and forms that have traditionally received little critical attention outside of the French and francophone world, this book will be relevant to academics, researchers, writers, students, activists, and readers with interests in Literary and Cultural Studies, African and Afrodiasporic Studies, Black Feminisms, Migration Studies, Critical Black Geographies, Francophone Studies, and the comparative framework of Afroeuropean Studies.
Introduction Part I: The Long Shadow of Marianne 1. I wonder as I wander: AfroFrench visuality and walking as method 2. The map is not the territory: francophonie and the errant writer 3. Black or French: voicing the borders of black France Part II: Blackness Intra Muros 4. Naming into place: Afropeanism as a poetics of relation 5. Zara in the metro: geographic variability and the ethnographic gaze 6. Re-imagining AfroParisianism: blackness encoded; spatiality decoded Conclusion: black spatiality and the search for ouverture
By articulating AfroFrench women’s quests for the right type of visibility, since blackness is represented as “spectacular in European spaces” (107), Moji has authored a powerful book. It is a long awaited addition to the body of knowledge. Moji begins by answering some of the most vexing questions about black female belonging in the city. Can the AfroFrench woman walk? [...] Moji’s writing is dense and intricate. It forces the reader to pay attention. This is because the issues dealt with are heavy and emotive and, as such, words need to be carefully mediated in order to honestly convey the AfroFrench people’s quest for equality and recognition. The book reflects the time, a period of some 17 years, and effort Moji has spent carefully thinking
through these issues. The author has intellectually performed a herculean labour and the hefty
work is evident in the analysis.
Nhlanhla Dube, English Department, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Polo B. Moji’s Gender and the Spatiality of Blackness in Contemporary AfroFrench Narratives analyzes the tension between Black French people’s notion of belonging and their presence in French public space. Moji offers a “strolling method” (8) using diverse visual and written materials to show how Black people in certain French public spaces are “out of place” and the ways in which their representations of Blackness are perceived as disruptive. Moji utilizes the gaze of the black flâneuse (strolling woman) to investigate how “race and gender intersect in the (re)mapping and/or repurposing of urban spaces.” [...] To address the
notions of belonging, space, and Blackness in France, Moji makes use of documentaries, biographies, and
novels by Black French politicians, authors, artists, and academics.
Fania Noël, The New School for Social Research New York (NY), United States of America