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Atelier 16 : Civilisation du Commonwealth (SEPC) - Résumés

Valérie Baisnée

Borders, boundaries and crossings: negotiating cultural relationships and identities in Fiona Kidman’s New Zealand memoirs

Fiona Kidman, who made her mark in New Zealand as a woman writer, released her two volumes of memoirs in 2008 and 2009 “to explore her life in public” as she wrote in the preface to At the End of Darwin Road, the first volume. Surveying her “mixed experience” as a writer which spans over forty-five years, Kidman’s memoirs engage questions of personal, professional and national identity at multiple levels. Her personal history intersects with several regional and national narratives which she reveals in the first volume: she felt the Asian influence in the Northern parts of the North Island during her youth and the frustration of women in small towns before the start of the feminist movement. In the second volume, as she tells how her extensive travelling and social encounters fed her fiction and journalist work, she nonetheless falls short of crossing several aesthetic and political boundaries. This paper will show how her narrative stands at the threshold of suppression and confession, reflection and involvement, as she records the major political and personal events of her life.

 

 

Chloé Carbuccia

Un Canada indépendant et distinct – le projet de construction nationale sous les Libéraux (1963-1984)

Sous les gouvernements des libéraux Lester Pearson (1963-1968) puis Pierre Trudeau (1968-1984), le Canada change profondément et traverse une période agitée par des nationalismes. Ces gouvernements ont pour priorité l’unité nationale ; l’identité canadienne est redéfinie, les références à l’empire britannique sont remplacées par des symboles canadiens, comme en attestent le drapeau de 1964, le bilinguisme puis le passage au multiculturalisme ainsi que le rapatriement de la Constitution en 1982. La coopération du pays avec les États-Unis en matière de défense dès le début de la guerre froide mais aussi en ce qui concerne l’économie fait resurgir des discours de crainte pour la souveraineté canadienne, qui déplorent la « satellisation » du Canada et qui font écho à la peur de la menace annexionniste représentée par le voisin du sud au 19ème siècle. Des formes d’anti-américanisme se font jour (notamment lors de l’arrivée des draft dodgers de la guerre du Vietnam) mais la rhétorique anti-américaine n’est pas le socle du nationalisme canadien mis en avant par les libéraux. Lester Pearson puis Pierre Trudeau cherchent principalement à accroître l’indépendance du Canada. Ainsi, le parti libéral qui avait prôné le rapprochement économique avec les États-Unis devient le parti perçu comme responsable de la détérioration de la relation avec le voisin du sud. Il s’opère alors un glissement vers « un projet pan-nationaliste des Canadiens anglophones de gauche dans les années 1960 en réponse au nationalisme québécois ». Étudier les influences entre le nationalisme québécois et canadien anglophone, le glissement des discours sur la nation canadienne de droite à gauche ainsi que l’importance symbolique de la frontière avec les États-Unis serait fécond.

 

 

Bénédicte Chaix

Traversée: vers une indentité transculturelle

Nombreux sont les thèmes de cette proposition de communication qui riment avec l’intitulé de ce 54e Congrès de la SAES. En effet, comme le suggère le texte de cadrage cette année, « réfléchir au potentiel théorique de la notion de ‘traversées’ […] suggère une réflexion transculturelle ».

Une des problématiques qui sera mise en avant dans la communication sera celle de la « traversée » migratoire vers un univers transculturel avec l’exemple des jeunes Siciliens en Angleterre. La « traversée » appréhendée à la base essentiellement comme dynamique spatiale ouvre la voie à de multiples réflexions dans les domaines de l’interculturel et du transculturel.

Les processus de globalisation des systèmes de communication et de diffusion de l’information ont récemment conduit à revoir et repenser l’idée de culture. La mobilité croissante et l’accès popularisé à l’information ont intensifié les échanges culturels et contribué à redéfinir la place de la « culture » aujourd’hui.

 D’un contexte davantage mono-culturel dans le passé, le phénomène de migration se situe aujourd’hui au cœur d’un mouvement interculturel et transculturel qui inclut mixité et échange culturel, appréhendés comme symboles d’une réalité plurielle.

Nous nous interrogerons ainsi sur la signification de la notion d’identité « fluide » en mettant en lumière les questionnements suivants : les jeunes migrants développent-ils une nouvelle identité culturelle ? Le processus est-il volontaire ou déterminé? Quelle est la place de la transmission au cœur de cette thématique ?

Au-delà de l’interculturalité représentée par l’éloignement de la notion diabolisée de l’alter-ité au sens péjoratif du terme et le graduel rapprochement d’un champ pluriculturel, la migration signifie pour les jeunes migrants reconstruction identitaire vers une transculturalité qui semble aujourd’hui appartenir à un schéma intégratoire que l’on peut entendre comme une « traversée ».

Nous illustrerons ce propos par des analyses théoriques et empiriques qui concernent l’évolution de l’identité et de l’appartenance, la modification des configurations familiales ou encore la redéfinition des pratiques linguistiques dans un contexte multiculturel où la « traversée » spatiale devient « traversée socio-culturelle ».

 

 

Sam Coombes

Troubled Crossings: Paul Gilroy’s Black Atlantic Twenty Years On

Paul Gilroy’s Black Atlantic (1993) was a major contribution to thinking about black postcolonial cultures in the Anglophone world, appearing at an important juncture in the recent history of the West: the early 1990s saw the rapid expansion of globalisation, the USA-led ‘New World Order’, and postmodernist thinking all against a backdrop of the definitive collapse of the Eastern block. What could a wide-reaching reassessment of the place, identity and contribution of Black cultures to the development of western modernity bring to the debates of the time about the orientation of contemporary culture? Gilroy’s claim that what he termed the ‘Black Atlantic’ constituted a ‘counterculture of modernity’ confidently positioned the postcolonial condition of black cultures in the west in an oppositional stance with respect not just to the colonial project but also to the economic logic of capitalism, in both its ‘high’ and late (or advanced) periods. Articulating the Black Atlantic, then, was in and of itself nothing short of an act of resistance, a contribution to radical thinking at a time when the forces of political reaction appeared to have got the definitive upper hand. The particularity of Gilroy’s argument, however, lay of course in the emphasis on the race/culture debate which lay at its heart. The factor of racial difference, and of a common culture deriving from a shared racial appartenance and experience as an oppressed people, could not be reduced or assimilated to Eurocentric discourses of political emancipation.  

In this paper I propose to re-examine the concept of the Black Atlantic as constitutive of a counterculture of modernity both in the light of Gilroy’s more recent work and in relation to the contemporary politico-cultural conjuncture. If his book was a powerful and effective contribution to the theoretical debates of the early 1990s, what is its intrinsic value and relevance to the debates of today? What are we to make of Gilroy’s apparent jettisoning of the idea of race in the name of a ‘planetary humanism’ in more recent publications (see Against Race (2001) and Between Camps (2001))? Does such a move inevitably mean diluting the demands of progressive and contestatory politics whilst throwing out the bogeyman of essentialist race-based discourse? What are the implications of such a ‘planetary humanism’ for those communities, both living within and outside of Western nations, for whom the legacy of colonialism, and indeed vestiges of racist attitudes, remain real and unavoidable even today? And finally, to what extent can the developments in Gilroy’s thinking be said to reflect broader changes in contemporary thinking about race, culture and politics over the course of the last ten to twenty years? Whilst seeking to reaffirm the value of Gilroy’s contribution, both past and present, to contemporary theory, be it cultural, sociological or political, in this paper I shall conduct a critical reassessment of his oeuvre since and in the light of The Black Atlantic

   


Deirdre Gilfedder

“My people at home and across the seas…The imperial sub-text of the King’s speech”.

This paper argues that Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech (2011) poses questions about social equality and imperial rapport. As other recent films about the British monarch, the film presents a reflection character, a narrative helper to aid the King in his fight against obstacles that threaten the mystical majesty of monarchy. In Tom Hooper’s film it is a peripheral imperial subject, Australian maverick, Lionel Logue that rushes to his side, playing the role of loyal vassal. The intense relationship the characters Lionel and Bertie develop and negotiate around is allegorically reminiscent of the tensions felt in the British Empire in the inter-war years. Britain had needed its colonies, and colonial men for the war effort, just as the King needs the therapist.

However, the performance of Geoffrey Rush as a bolshy, egalitarian colonial Logue, appears to add a republican shading to the relationship…

 

 

Claire Heuillard

The Indian Diaspora in Canada: There and Back Again

By 2050, India is expected to bypass China as the world’s most populous nation, with a projected population of 1.6 billion. As the population grows so too does the number of Indian nationals seeking to pursue life abroad. Today, the Indian diaspora is estimated at approximately 25 million, spread across 200 countries, making it the second-largest diaspora community in the world. 

 

While migrant communities have been an integral part of world demographics for millennia, the ease with which migrants can now stay in contact with their country of origin is transforming their political and economic roles. High-speed telecommunications and inexpensive airfares mean that the decision to emigrate no longer represents a brutal rupture with the homeland, but a complex and constant weaving of relations across the globe. 

 

This evolution has not escaped the notice of the Indian government, which created the High Level Committee on the Indian Diaspora in 2000 in order to develop strategic links with the vast emigrant community across the globe.   Every year Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (Non-resident Indian Day) takes place on January 9th in order to celebrate the contributions of overseas Indians. 

 

The Indian community in Canada is currently one of the largest in the world, standing at over one million. The historic links between these two Commonwealth nations as well as the strategic position of Canada as a G8 nation and a close neighbor of the United States make it a rich case study with regards to the economic and political influence of the Indian diaspora.  

 

The proposed communication aims to:

 

·         offer a clear definition of what is meant by “diaspora”. 

·         provide a brief overview of Indian immigration to Canada, highlighting in particular the demographic structure of immigrant groups.   

·         explore the role of immigrant groups’ economic and political influence both in Canada and India.   

·         reflect on how 21st century globalization has contributed to a change in the nature of emigration, creating communities with strong attachments both to the country of origin and the adopted country of residence.   

 

 

Sylvie Maurer George-Molland

L'île Maurice: à la traversée des cultures

Membre du Commonwealth depuis son accession à l’indépendance en 1968, l’Île Maurice est un pays aux couleurs de l’arc-en-ciel, car elle a subi la traversée de différentes colonisations ou, selon le point de vue adopté, elle en a bénéficié. Cela a conduit à la formation d’une société multiculturelle, véritable illustration de ce que dit Claude Lévi-Strauss, dans Race et Histoire, 1952 : « aucune culture n’est seule : elle est toujours donnée en coalition avec d’autres cultures, et c’est cela qui lui permet d’édifier des séries cumulatives ». Chaque colonisation a ainsi laissé à l’île Maurice une empreinte, souvent indélébile, comme en témoigne aujourd’hui sa société cosmopolite.

Tour à tour colonie hollandaise, française et britannique, l’île a aussi été traversée par des pays non-colonisateurs tels que l’Inde et la Chine, qui en ont également influencé l’histoire, la langue et la culture. Aujourd’hui nous constatons que la brève présence des Hollandais a façonné Maurice géographiquement et écologiquement, en laissant en héritage le nom de certains lieux, ainsi que l’introduction ou l’anéantissement de certaines espèces animales. La France et l’Angleterre lui ont légué une partie de leur culture respective ; l’Inde et la Chine lui ont offert une partie de leur population. L’Afrique n’est pas en reste, puisqu’elle a fourni l’île en esclaves, dont certains ont traversé un continent, d’autres un océan, en emportant le peu qui restait de leur culture d’origine car, comme le dit Edgar Morin, dans Le paradigme perdu, 1979, « le tourbillon destructeur de l’histoire, en balayant à tous vents les cultures en miettes, disperse aussi des spores ».

Après une présentation de l’héritage laissé par ces pays, fondée sur les travaux de plusieurs historiens, nous en analyserons l’évolution à travers une brève étude d’inclusion et d’exclusion parmi les groupes qui se partagent l’île. Nous prendrons appui sur les méthodes d’observation sur le terrain et sur des entretiens non dirigés, avant de conclure par une brève étude des Créoles, groupe combinant ces multiples traversées culturelles.

 

 

Maud Michaud

The end of their journey: foreign sailors, missionaries and the Strangers’ Home for Asiatics, Africans and South Sea Islanders, 1856-1937

This paper wishes to explore the logistics, motives and networks that lay the bases for a one of a kind institution in Victorian London: the Strangers’ Home for Asiatics, Africans and South Sea Islanders. Although the Strangers’ Home was inspired by the already existing model of seamen’s missions, which could be found in various British harbours, the very circumstances and individuals that originated it make it a more than original venture in the history of cosmopolitan London. The Strangers’ Home was built on the initiative of two missionary societies: the London City Mission (LCM), an interdenominational organization which worked in the East End of British metropolis, and the Church Missionary Society, an Anglican missionary society dedicated to overseas apostolic work. Its secretary Henry Venn launched an appeal for funds at the beginning of the 1850s, struck by the dreadful physical and spiritual conditions in which immigrant sailors were living in the London docks neighbourhood. The first donation of £500.00 was made by Maharaja Duleep Singh, a rich exiled Punjabi prince whose title had been taken away from him, and who converted to Christianity and settled in Britain in1854, where he became a close friend of Queen Victoria’s. The foundation stone of the Strangers’ Home was laid by Prince Albert on 31 May 1856 and the institution opened one year later, welcoming the numerous foreign sailors who, after crossing the seven seas, found jobs on the docks or were just passing through, waiting for another ship to take them to faraway destinations on the map of the British Empire.

Throughout its existence, it served a multiple purpose: it was at the same time a centre for government-subsidized shelter for lascars, providing food and accommodation for foreign sailors (lascars mainly but not only). A centre for religious and missionary instruction run by a living-in LCM missionary (Joseph Salter, who wrote two different memoirs on his experience), the Strangers’ Home hosted a Christian library, a laundry room, bathrooms, dormitories, a common dining hall.

The Strangers’ Home offers historians of immigration and missions an exciting insight into how the foreign elements of the London population could be cared for by various agencies, as they became more and more visible and essential in the metropolis. The institution is also a noteworthy example of collaboration between government and missionary organizations on British soil, as the Strangers’ Home was mainly subsidized by the Indian Office (£200,000 annually) as well as from private donations to a special LCM fund. The institution welcomed and cared for sailors from all continents until 1937, when it closed its doors due to a lack of funds and a decrease in occupants.

In this paper, I hope to give a detailed account of life in the Strangers’ Home, focusing on the way sailors of various nationalities and religions interacted and lived together under the same roof; the primary sources linked to the institution itself from 1856 to 1937 will give evidence as to the motives that led to the setting up of such a shelter, as well as the level of collaboration between missionary societies and government; Joseph Salter’s two autobiographical accounts also inform us on the negotiations and level of compromise that ruled the daily life at the Strangers’ Home; external accounts by contemporary tourists and adepts of “slumming” show how the institution embodied, to a certain extent, the widespread cliché of London as the centre of Empire, a place where the whole world converged, a miniature globe.

 

 

Cécile Perrot

Between tradition and modernity: the fate of rural women in the rainbow nation

As heated debates occur around the passing of a controversial Traditional Courts Bill that would entrench the power of traditional leaders in rural areas and would - some fear – further marginalize a large portion of the South African population, I would like, in this article, to focus on the fate of South African rural women who find themselves at the crossroads of two often contradictory cultural frameworks : one defined by the democratic ethos enshrined in the 1996 constitution that stresses among other values the importance of gender equality and another rooted in the traditional customs and values that inform the everyday life of many rural women.

Through a series of portraits and case studies, this article would aim at questioning the position of rural women in a political context where gender equality seems to be all too often “up for grabs” when other, perhaps more powerful interests, come into play. Virginity testing, polygamy and customary law will be at the core of this assessment of rural women’s participation in the new South Africa. Striking the right balance between the recognition of gender equality and the acknowledgement of cultural rights is an on-going process and we will see that attempts to better adapt customs to democratic principles often fail to design a coherent legal framework that would both respect customary law and empower women.

 

 

Jennifer Randall

“They hate us and they hate the idea that we are Indians just like  them[1]: writing back to South Asian fundamentalism in the novels of diasporic women writers.

The novels of women from the Indian subcontinent's diaspora have significantly changed in the past decade. Although pre-Ayodhya (from an Indian perspective) and pre-9/11 (from a Western perspective) novels may have fed into an orientalized celebration of Indian “multiculturalism”, 21st century novels have cast aside this homogenized narrative, depicting rather societies polarized by communal tensions.

 

Interestingly, the diaspora is the “third-space”, neither authentically “Indian” nor orientally Western, where the failure of the secular, Nehruvian narrative of India, of the moderate, Jinnahian narrative of Pakistan or of the popular, Rahmanian narrative of Bangladesh is enacted. Novelists such as Meena Arora Nayak (India), Kamila Shamsie (Pakistan) and Tahmima Anam (Bangladesh) testify to the different forms of radicalization which sever on the Indian subcontinent.

 

These writers juggle with various traditions available, ranging from the near-canonized postcolonial novel of “in-betweenness” to the commercial success of “Desi chick-lit”, only to subvert each one, suggesting that the diasporic woman is a staunchly political citizen of her country of origin. The result is a forceful literature strongly critical of religious fundamentalism.

 

By broadening my scope to three diasporic novelists, each of whom writes about a country formerly part of colonial “India”, I shall cast a panoramic view on a tendency at play in 21st century women's writing which has little in common with the professed nostalgia for the distant homeland which springs to mind when one thinks of writing about the mother country in terms of a literary crossing of borders. Rather these writers observe their “distant homeland”, to quote their fellow writer Anita Rau Badami, “as if through a telescope, every small wound or scar or flare back there exaggerated, exciting their imaginations and their emotions, bringing tears to their eyes[2].”

 

 

Alexandra Roch

Des Yorubas du Bénin aux Spiritual Baptist de Trinidad : le passage par la cale

Dans l’espace caribéen, la traversée est au cœur de la mémoire collective des colonisés. Elle évoque la traite négrière et particulièrement l’étape reliant l’Afrique à l’Amérique que l’on nomme « middle passage ». Pour la chercheuse Elizabeth A. Wilson « middle passage is a term in which the collective memory of anglophone Caribbean people is charged with emotional associations : oppression, horror, extreme cruelty, degradation. ».

La traversée suggère donc le déracinement géographique et culturel des noirs africains arrachés à leur terre natale.

C’est donc autour de la question de l’identité culturelle et particulièrement de la religion que nous avons choisi d’explorer la thématique de la traversée. Car selon le chercheur Philippe Delisle, « la religion apparait comme l’un des lieux privilégiés pour l’expression de cette identité créole faite d’influences multiples ». Ainsi, avec la traite négrière, les croyances religieuses Yoruba se sont disséminées dans les colonies contribuant à la création de nouvelles pratiques religieuses comme les Spiritual Baptist à Trinidad.

Il s’agit donc d’interroger à travers les notions de résistance, d’interstice, d’hybridité et de marronnage, la reconstruction religieuse des esclaves sur le sol trinidadien. Pratiqué par les afro-trinidadiens, le culte syncrétique des Spiritual Baptist constitue une continuité de la religion Yoruba.

Dans un premier temps, il semble pertinent de se focaliser sur la religion Yoruba, puis sur la transmission et la recomposition de ce culte africain à Trinidad à travers les Spiritual Baptist. Le régime colonial interdisant toutes pratiques hors de la religion catholique, apostolique, romaine, comment se négocie donc la religion des assujettis ? Enfin, nous aborderons, la traversée dans le sens d’opposition, puisque la restructuration de la religion sur ce territoire abolit les oppositions binaires colons- colonisés.

 

 

Ludivine Royer

Transnational human rights and local indigenous diversity

On December 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - which Eleanor Roosevelt described as “a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”, which “might well become an international Magna Carta of all mankind”. Since then, a number of international agreements and treaties have come to embody, specify and develop those international human rights norms which have spread across the world and have influenced, to a lesser or greater extent, the different countries’ policies. Among them, of course, the 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

It should no doubt be interesting to evaluate the actual impact that those norms have had on domestic politics, and for that matter recent studies have endeavored to do so, but this paper proposes rather to try and evaluate the impact that those norms have had on indigenous people’s everyday lives, local cultures, practices, values and claims - with a particular focus on Australian Aborigines -, keeping in mind that, though they have developed international means of pursuing their claims for justice, indigenous people’s primarily concern is with the local and regional.

Beyond the way global instruments and transnational advocacy networks on human rights have contributed to regional policy development, strengthened local political activism and definitely helped indigenous empowerment, little has been said indeed about the various consequences, for indigenous people, of resorting to the human rights system. To what extent is the diversity of indigenous cultures and identities crushed by its global and homogenizing nature? Through what mechanisms do western human rights movements lead to changes in the people’s very behaviors, discourses and social life they claim to protect? In what ways may indigenous people feel disempowered by a supposedly empowering instrument which, though Western in essence, claims its universality? Given that legal documents and policy statements produced in transnational sites such as UN conferences circulate globally, how can transnational ideas and principles remain - or become - adapted to local sociocultural understandings and practices? This paper will aim to assess the complex and sometimes conflicting relationship between transnational human rights and local indigenous realities.

 

 

Chaminda Weerawardhana

Postcolonial state formation at Empire’s twilight: an Irish-Ceylonese comparative perspective?

This paper focuses on the conceptualisation/s of state formation at the twilight of the British Empire, from the 1920s to the 1940s. Taking a comparative approach, it seeks to challenge received wisdom on the issue of postcolonial state formation, shedding new light upon inspirations that guided leaders of struggles for self-determination and self-government. This paper will specifically focus on the influence of debates on constitutional reform and self-determination in Ireland (from the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 to the proclamation of the Irish Republic of Ireland Act of 1948) on other parts of the British Empire, notably in the New Commonwealth contexts of India and Ceylon. To what extent could one trace comparative insights into state formation from Ireland to South Asia? What, if any, are the implications of such insights to the study of political history? Could one conceptualise influences and inspirations of statecraft not only from West to East, but also from East to West? In an effort to address these questions, this paper (as well as the project at large) shall seek to bring in counter-intuitive insights into existing readings of post-colonial state formation.

 

 



[1]Meena Arora Nayak, About Daddy, London, Penguin Books, 2000, p. 103.

[2]Anita Rau Badami, Can You Hear the Nightbrd Call?, Toronto, Knopf Canada, p. 65.




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Dernière modification : 9 avril 2014