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SFPS Monthly Mailing – April 2018

28th April 2018

SFPS Monthly Mailing: April 2018


  1. Calls for Papers

1.1 États présents, états futurs: French and Francophone Studies in the 21st century (ADEFFI 20th Annual conference)

1.2 ‘Mines de rien’ : L’Antillaise et l’Afropéenne face aux tropologies, entre mythes et réalités au fil du temps (Essays in French Literature and Culture: Call for submissions)

1.3 Reading, Teaching, and Theorizing Caribbean Texts (Call for submissions)


  1. Job Opportunities

2.1 Post-doctoral Research Assistant in Postcolonial Francophone Studies (University of Stirling)

2.2 Research Fellow in Language Policy (Queen’s University Belfast)


  1. Announcements

3.1 Keynote Lecture by  A. James Arnold on ‘Aimé Césaire and the Hermeneutical Circle, or, How We Know What We Know’ (15 May 2018)

3.2 Language Acts and Worldmaking: Small Grants Scheme (Call for proposals)

3.3 Visualizing Blackness in Latin America and the Caribbean, 16th-19th Centuries (Conference, 29 & 30 May 2018)


  1. New Titles

4.1 Race on Display in 20th- and 21st Century France (Liverpool University Press, 2018)

4.2 Le Théâtre d’Aimé Césaire (Lausanne: Ides et Calendes, 2018)

4.3 Alienation and Freedom (Bloomsbury Press, 2018)

4.4 Critically Mediterranean Temporalities, Aesthetics, and Deployments of a Sea in Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

4.5 No Exit: Arab Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Decolonization (University of Chicago Press, 2018)


  1. Calls for Papers/Contributions


1.1 États présents, états futurs: French and Francophone Studies in the 21st century (ADEFFI 20th Annual conference)

University College Dublin, 19-20 October 2018

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of ADEFFI, our Association’s 20th annual conference will seek to bring together colleagues working in French and francophone studies, in Ireland and beyond, to reflect on the current state of our discipline. Colleagues are invited to present papers on their area of expertise with an emphasis on current trajectories or new horizons within that area. Broader reflections on French and francophone studies are also welcome, including our discipline’s place in the increasingly neoliberal university system, our relations with other areas in the humanities, national modern languages policy (comparative or otherwise), or language pedagogy at third level.Contributions relating to the following non-exhaustive list are especially welcome:

  • Current trajectories in French and francophone studies
  • New horizons in French and francophone studies
  • Academic trends and fashions
  • French and francophone studies and the canon
  • Gender and the canon
  • Curriculum development in French studies
  • French and francophone theory in the 21st century
  • French and francophone studies in national contexts
  • French studies: interdisciplinarity, multidisciplinarity, plurisdisciplinarity
  • The future of modern languages at the university
  • Making the argument for languages
  • Brexit and modern languages policy
  • Service teaching in the modern university
  • What do French graduates know and what do they do?
  • Language pedagogy at university
  • New technologies and language learning

Abstracts (200 words) should be sent to by Monday 21 May 2018.


États présents, états futurs : les études françaises et francophones au XXIe siècle (ADEFFI – colloque annuel à l’occasion de son XXe anniversaire)

University College Dublin, Irlande, 19-20 octobre 2018

Pour célébrer son vingtième anniversaire, le colloque annuel de l’ADEFFI se propose de réfléchir à la situation des études françaises et francophones à travers le monde. Nous vous invitons donc à nous envoyer des propositions de communication portant sur l’état actuel ou l’évolution de votre domaine de recherche. Des propositions portant sur des sujets plus larges sont également les bienvenues, comme, par exemple, la place de notre discipline au sein d’universités de plus en plus néo-libérales, les relations entre les langues modernes et les humanités, la place des langues dans les politiques et stratégies éducatives ou encore les nouvelles pédagogies dans l’enseignement des langues à l’université. Les pistes de réflexion qui suivent ne sont données qu’à titre indicatif :

  • Les évolutions récentes des études françaises et francophones
  • Les tendances actuelles et émergentes
  • Le canon dans les études françaises et francophones
  • Les liens entre genre et canon
  • Les nouveaux curricula à l’université
  • La théorie : sa place et son évolution
  • Les études françaises et francophones dans leurs contextes nationaux
  • Interdisciplinarité, multidisciplinarité, transdisciplinarité
  • L’avenir des langues modernes à l’université
  • Défendre les langues modernes
  • L’impact du Brexit sur les langues modernes
  • L’enseignement des langues à l’université
  • Que savent et que font les diplômés de langues ?
  • La pédagogie des langues
  • L’apport des nouvelles technologies dans l’enseignement et l’apprentissage des langues

Votre proposition d’environ 200 mots devra être envoyée à avant le lundi 21 mai 2018.


1.2 ‘Mines de rien’ : L’Antillaise et l’Afropéenne face aux tropologies, entre mythes et réalités au fil du temps (Essays in French Literature and Culture)

Guest editors Kathleen Gyssels and Jacqueline Couti, 59 (October 2019) Essays in French Literature and Culture.

Given the recent debates on feminisms and manifestations of misogyny and sexism towards women of color both in the Antilles and in continental France, for both Afropean and Antillean women, this volume will explore the different ways in which Afropean women and men reacted to masculine attitudes forged in a colonial and postcolonial context. The volume will engage with the specific “looks” (“mines,” “airs”) shaped by the gaze of the Other (both men of color and white men). How did Afropean and Antillean women react to these attitudes in the domestic, political, and even academic spheres?

Inspired by Fanon who focused on the gaze, our studies of iconography of the Afropean and Antillean female subject aim to visualize how the female subject of color has been preoccupied by her appearance, to please men who nevertheless never consider her quite suitable (with the appropriate “pedigree”) or equal. This issue of Essays in French Literature and Culture aims to (de)construct the feminine Afropean and Antillean imaginary, that is to say, the reconstruction, between myth and reality, of the feminine in its different manifestations and reactions to the misogyny and ambient sexism of Antillean and continental French society during the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries.

It is imperative to shed full light on the many perennial subordinations of women in Antillean-Guianese and French societies. With this in mind, this volume insists on the need to speak of both female and male, Antillean and Afropean writers, in the diaspora or not. We will examine their representations of Antillean woman in the construction of a postcolonial discourse in order to give more depth to current debates on feminisms and femininity, relationships between men and women, as well as racial identity and belonging, in a multiracial and multiethnic France. Submissions will reassess and rethink the processes through which various discourses transpose issues of race, gender, (post-)colonialism, eroticism and/or nation into fiction and poetry, theatre, pamphlets, and blogs as a social and literary imaginary of the feminine.

The editors of this issue of Essays in French Literature and Culture welcome contributions from different critical perspectives, frameworks, approaches, and disciplines. Essays will be selected for scholarly rigor and depth of inquiry.

Several topics will be considered:

* typology and tropology of femininity in the French Antilles/French Caribbean and Guiana

* family structures / matrifocality

* instrumentalized femininity & Creole masculinities, phallogocentrism

* pleasure and its “mise en scène”: the world of entertainment, eroticization and racialization of the (female) sexual

* good hair and nice skin (stigma of racial, ethnic and national categories: coulie, Chinese, Haitian, etc…)

* the (black) female body in visual arts (publicity) and popular culture (graffiti, calypso, be-bop, rap)

* institutionalization and intersectionality: parity a Utopia to the D.O.M. (French Overseas Departments)  and DROM (French Overseas Departments and Regions) ?


Proposals (either in French or English) of approximately 200-300 words should be sent to Kathleen Gyssels ( and Jacqueline Couti ( Deadline for submission of proposals: May 27, 2018, for submission of articles on November 1, 2018, with publication of the issue in October 2019.



Mines de rien : L’Antillaise et l’Afropéenne face aux tropologies, entre mythes et réalités au fil du temps

Essays in French Literature and Culture, 59 (Octobre 2019)

Guest-edited by /dirigée par Kathleen Gyssels et Jacqueline Couti

Etant donné les débats récents sur les féminismes, les récentes manifestations de misogynie et de sexisme à l’égard de la femme de couleur tant aux Antilles qu’en France, tant pour les Afropéennes que pour les Antillaises, il est pertinent d’étudier les différents modes dans lesquels Afropéennes et Antillaises ont réagi à des attitudes masculines forgées dans un contexte colonial et postcolonial. Il s’agit d’évaluer leurs “mines”, et leurs “airs” façonnées dans le regard de l’Autre, l’homme de couleur et le Blanc. Comment ont-elles réagi quant aux attitudes à la fois dans la vie privée et publique, dans la sphere domestique, politique, voire académique?

Nous inspirant de Fanon qui a focalisé sur le regard (the “gaze”), les articles portent sur la bonne/ mauvaise mine, soit sur l’iconographie de l’Afropéenne et la Caribéenne, préoccupées par son apparence pour plaire aux hommes qui cependant l’ont rarement considérée d’un bon oeil, du même genre, ou encore égales.

Ce numéro d’Essays in French Literature and Culture vise à (dé)construire l’imaginaire du féminin afropéen et antillais, c’est-à-dire la reconstruction, entre mythes et réalités (XIX-XXI siècle), du féminin dans ses différentes manifestations et réactions à la misogynie et sexisme ambiant de la société antillaise et française.

Il est impérieux de faire la pleine lumière sur les nombreuses subordinations pérennes dans les sociétés antillo- guyanaise et française, tant en République qu’en diaspora. Dans cette optique, ce numéro insiste sur la nécessité de parler à la fois d’auteurs féminins et masculins, antillais et afropéens, en diaspora ou non, dans la construction d’un discours postcolonial afin de donner plus « d’épaisseur » aux débats actuels sur les féminismes et la féminité, les relations entre hommes et femmes, ainsi que l’identité raciale ou l’appartenance, dans une France multiraciale et multi-ethnique. Les contributions feront le point sur la transposition en fiction romanesque et poésie, en théâtre, en pamphlets ou blogs, de ces questions.

Les éditrices de ce numéro d’Essays in French Literature and Culture accueillent des articles venant d’horizons, d’approches et de disciplines différents. Ils seront examinés avec rigueur et en profondeur.

Plusieurs axes de réflexion seront envisagés :

* typologie et tropologie des féminités antillo-guyanaises

* structures familiales / matrifocalité

* féminité instrumentalisée (symbole de la masculinité créole, monde du spectacle, Revue nègre…)

* érotisation et féminisation des Antilles

* racialisation des rapports de sexe et des régimes de sexualité

* séduction et violence sexuelle

* hiérarchie racialisée : anciennes et nouvelles inégalités de classe, race, sexe, genre

* institutionnalisation et intersectionnalité : la parité, une utopie aux DOM ?

* la noblesse de la peau et cheveux (stigmates et stéréotypie de la coulie, Chinoise, Haïtienne, etc…)

* corps féminin dans les arts visuels et les cultures populaires (graffiti, calypso, be-bop, rap, …)

Les propositions (en français ou en anglais) d’environ 200-300 mots sont à adresser à Kathleen Gyssels ( et Jacqueline Couti ( Date limite pour l’envoi des propositions : 27 mai 2018, pour une soumission des articles au 1er novembre 2018, et publication du numéro en octobre 2019.


1.3 Reading, Teaching, and Theorizing Caribbean Texts (Call for submissions)

Call for Submissions for an edited volume.

Jeanne Jegousso (Louisiana State University) and Emily O’Dell (Louisiana State University). Contact email:

The objective of this essay collection is to discuss alternative approaches to teaching, theorizing, and reading Caribbean texts from transnational and multilingual perspectives. In Une nouvelle région du monde, the Martiniquan essayist and poet, Édouard Glissant explains that “l’harmonie des semblables est neutre et inféconde, mais la rencontre des différences, et qui n’est pas l’harmonie des contraires, s’accomplit dans et par un dépassement mutuel qui fonde l’inattendu du tout-Monde”[1] (63). Our goal is to query what new systems and criteria can be implemented to rethink and remodel our theoretical and pedagogical corpus and alter the lenses through which we study Caribbean texts.

Pedagogically, literature from the Caribbean has, with few exceptions, has been neglected in the majority of classrooms around the world. What are some of the struggles that prevent Caribbean literature from being absorbed into the majority of mainstream academic (graduate and undergraduate) course offerings? Why doesn’t it have the same status as African or Asian literatures? Are there ways of surmounting these obstacles to create transnational perspectives of Caribbean literature? Or, are historical, geographical, and linguistic boundaries perpetually present?

In terms of theoretical approach, how can we go beyond the existing theoretical canon of postcolonial Caribbean literature? What can we do to distance ourselves from established theories or repurpose them to create new theoretical concepts? Are there ways to incorporate the study of new spaces in a way that would revitalize the study of the Caribbean? Is it possible to go beyond individual disciplines and specialties to create global theories without erasing the specificity of the primary texts?

Finally, when we read Caribbean literature, have we limited ourselves to the point that it is dominated by repetitive symbols and themes? Has the origin of literary texts dictated the amount of academic study they have received? Has there been a shift in how Caribbean literature is approached and analyzed? Has the importance of style altered how we interpret the themes in the literature? Have these two components (theme and style) been treated as equally important?

Those interested in participating in this project should send 350-500 word abstract in French or English and a curriculum vitae to Jeanne Jégousso at and to Emily O’Dell at  Deadline for receipt of abstracts is June 1, 2018.

[1] “The harmony of similars is neutral and infertile, but the meeting of differences, and which is not the harmony of opposites, accomplishes in and by a mutual overtaking that is the basis for the unexpected whole-world” (Our translation)


  1. Job Opportunities

 2.1  Post-doctoral Research Assistant in Postcolonial Francophone Studies (University of Stirling)

Fixed term contract: 15 months (0.8 FTE)

Start date: 1 September 2018 (or by mutual agreement)

Grade 6 – £25,728 – £31,604 p.a. pro-rata

Closing Date for applications is midnight on Monday 14th May 2018

We are seeking to appoint a post-doctoral research assistant for fifteen months (0.8 FTE) to work on a two-year project funded by the AHRC. The project focuses on representations and narratives of Mediterranean migration, and in particular of the French settlers of Algeria, or pieds-noirs, most of whom left Algeria when it gained independence in 1962. The primary role of the post-holder is to assist the Principal Investigator (PI) in the delivery of impact and public engagement activities, with a secondary focus on conducting original research to be prepared for publication. A near-native command of French and a PhD in the area of Francophone postcolonial studies is required, and strong analytical skills and organisational abilities are essential. The ability to conduct interviews and manage the development of digital humanities outputs is desirable. Informal enquiries about the post can be made to the project PI, Dr Fiona Barclay, at

For more information, see


2.2 Research Fellow in Language Policy (Queen’s University Belfast)

Queen’s University Belfast – School of Arts, English and Languages

Salary: £32,548 to £38,833 per annum

Hours: Full Time Contract

Type: Fixed-Term/Contract

 This post is available for 20 months to work on a AHRC-funded project on ‘Foreign, indigenous and community languages in the devolved regions of the UK: policy and practice for growth.’ The research project forms part of the AHRC Priority Area Leadership Fellowship in Modern Languages held by Professor Janice Carruthers. It focuses on Language Policy in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, in relation to foreign language learning, indigenous languages and community languages; and will incorporate an element of international comparison.

The research programme for this post will have a strong emphasis on policy regarding the learning of foreign languages, particularly those taught widely in the UK higher education system. The successful candidate will work closely with policymakers in a range of fields. They will conduct research, produce original publications and assist in the organisation of conferences and policy workshops, the latter in collaboration with researchers on the OWRI MEITS project. The ideal candidate will have knowledge of and research experience within the area of language policy in relation to modern foreign languages.

The successful candidate will be mentored by Professor Janice Carruthers (email: and will be associated with the School of Arts, English and Languages.

The successful candidate must have:

  • A PhD (or be about to be awarded) in a relevant field.
  • At least 3 years relevant research experience (which may include doctoral study).
  • Experience of academic writing for publication.
  • Ability to manage workload and to work independently and with others as directed (including conference organisation).
  • Ability to contribute to broader management and administrative processes.
  • Ability to collaborate with non-academic partners.

Informal enquires may be directed to Dr Daniel McAuley (

Anticipated interview date: Monday 4 June 2018.

Salary scale: £32,548 – £38,833 per annum (potential to progress to £42,418 per annum through sustained exceptional contribution).

Closing date: Wednesday 16 May 2018.

For full criteria and to apply online, visit For further information or assistance contact Human Resources, Queen’s University Belfast, BT7 1NN. Telephone (028) 9097 3044 or email on

The University is committed to equality of opportunity and to selection on merit. It therefore welcomes applications from all sections of society and particularly welcomes applications from people with a disability.

Fixed-term contract posts are available for the stated period in the first instance but in particular circumstances may be renewed or made permanent subject to availability of funding.


  1. Announcements

3.1 Keynote Lecture by  A. James Arnold on ‘Aimé Césaire and the Hermeneutical Circle, or, How We Know What We Know’ (15 May 2018)

Tuesday 15th May, 5.00pm

Lecture Hall, Taylor Institution, University of Oxford

A. James Arnold is Professor Emeritus of French at the University of Virginia. From 2010 to 2013 he was coordinating editor at the Institut des Textes et Manuscrits Modernes of the École Normale Supérieure (rue d’Ulm) for the centenary edition of Aimé Césaire’s Poésie, Théâtre, Essais et Discours. Since 2013 he has prepared with Clayton Eshleman bilingual editions for Wesleyan University Press, culminating in The Complete Poetry of Aimé Césaire in 2017. The subject of “Aimé Césaire and the Hermeneutical Circle, or How We Know What We Know” is the shift in epistemological assumptions from retrospective to prospective editions of an author’s work. Professor Arnold’s work in progress, « Aimé Césaire, Genèse et Transformations d’une poétique » , will provide illustrative examples.


3.2  Language Acts and Worldmaking: Small Grants Scheme (Call for proposals)

Call for Proposals: Languages Memory Language Act and Worldmaking is delighted to announce a new Call for Proposals for our Small Grants Scheme. For this call, we would like to extend and expand upon the theme of Languages Memory, the title of our first conference to be held in Bush House, London, 13-14 June, 2018. Through both the conference and our small grants scheme we want to enliven our awareness of the ways in which languages are experienced, practised, taught and researched. We will reflect upon the place of language learning and engage with the material and historical force of languages in the world. We are looking for proposals that relate to these issues, thinking across the six research strands of our project. We are also especially interested in proposals that work with other Higher Education institutions, cultural organisations, and/or private enterprise. The deadline for applications is 27th May 2018. For further details and to apply, please see our Call for Proposals and Small Grants Application Form. If you have any queries or comments, please email us at: For more information, see


3.3 Visualizing Blackness in Latin America and the Caribbean, 16th-19th Centuries (Conference, 29 & 30 May 2018)

Institute of Latin American Studies School of Advanced Study, London

29 & 30 May 2018

Convenors: Helen Melling (ILAS) & Kathryn Santner (ILAS)

Sponsored by the Cassal Trust and the Institute of Latin American Studies

Recent years have witnessed a rich wave of scholarship examining representations of Blackness in the visual cultures of the Atlantic world. This avenue of enquiry is particularly germane to Latin America and the Caribbean, home to the world’s largest African diasporic populations. Whilst the theme of black people’s invisibility is deeply inscribed in both the history and scholarship of the region, the study of visual and material culture presents new avenues for understanding both the complexities of the black experience, and the ways in which notions of Blackness and peoples of African descent have indelibly shaped the cultures and societies of Latin America and the Caribbean. We use Blackness in its broadest sense, encompassing its hegemonic configuration as a signifier of difference, its articulation as a largely fluid category across Latin America and the Caribbean, and its transformative capacity through acts of agency, self-fashioning and political and cultural resistance.

This conference brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars working across the fields of visual and material culture, art history, cultural studies and history to explore the multiplicity of meanings ascribed to Blackness across the region; from early modern, colonial conceptions rooted in lineage and bloodlines, to the pseudo-scientific construction of race as an immutable, material and biological ‘fact’ in the 19th century. The aim is to explore the myriad ways in which Blackness is configured and remade, through representations of Afro-descendants in the visual arts, and the production and use of material culture in black self-fashioning and collective identities.

For more information, see


  1. New Titles

4.1 Race on Display in 20th- and 21st Century France (Liverpool University Press, 2018)

By Katelyn E. Knox

In Race on Display in 20th- and 21st-Century France Knox turns the tables France’s rhetoric of ‘internal otherness’, asking her reader not to spot those deemed France’s others but rather to deconstruct the very gazes that produce them. Weaving together a vast corpus of colonial French children’s comics, Francophone novels, and African popular music, fashion, and dance, Knox traces how the ways colonial ‘human zoos’ invited their French spectators to gaze on their colonized others still inform the frameworks through which racial and ethnic minorities are made—and make themselves—visible in contemporary France. In addition to analyzing how literature and music depicting immigrants and their descendants in France make race and ethnicity visible, Knox also illustrates how the works she analyzes self-reflexively ask whether they, as commodities sold within wider cultural marketplaces, perpetuate the culture of exoticism they seek to contest. Finally, Knox contends that to take seriously the way the texts interrogate the relationship between power, privilege, and the gaze also requires reconsidering the visions of normalcy from which racial and ethnic minorities supposedly depart. She thus concludes by exposing a critical ‘blind spot’ in French cultural studies—whiteness—before subjecting it to the same scrutiny France’s ‘visible minorities’ face.

For more information, see


4.2 Le Théâtre d’Aimé Césaire (Lausanne: Ides et Calendes, 2018)

Par Gérard Cogez

L’œuvre dramaturgique d’Aimé Césaire (1913-2008) tient en une trilogie (à laquelle on peut ajouter Et les Chiens se taisent, son premier essai d’écriture scénique, qu’il désignait sous le terme d’oratorio). Mais il est parvenu, en faisant une moisson inégalée d’images flamboyantes, à exposer dans ces trois textes les moments primordiaux de l’histoire du peuple noir : la libération de l’esclavage et un pays à créer dans La Tragédie du roi Christophe, la difficile accession à l’indépendance et le caractère impitoyable du néo-colonialisme dans Une Saison au Congo et la réalité du racisme et de la ségrégation dans Une Tempête. Cette trilogie constitue comme la tête de lecture de l’œuvre entière de Césaire en permettant d’interpréter à leur juste valeur les autres textes majeurs – d’une indéniable théâtralité – tels que Cahier d’un retour au pays natal ou Discours sur le colonialisme. Elle se présente surtout comme « la poésie mise à la portée du peuple », selon le vœu de l’auteur. Premier ouvrage qui appréhende l’ensemble du geste théâtral de Césaire, ce livre s’efforce de mettre en évidence l’étonnante actualité, à portée universelle, de ces démonstrations qui sont comme autant de témoignages toujours à méditer.

En savoir plus:


4.3 Alienation and Freedom (Bloomsbury Press, 2018)

Ed. by Jean Khalfa and Robert J. C. Young; Trans. by Steven Corcoran

Since the publication of The Wretched of the Earth in 1961, Fanon’s work has been deeply significant for generations of intellectuals and activists from the 60s to the present day. Alienation and Freedom collects together previously unpublished works comprising around half of his entire output – which were previously inaccessible or thought to be lost. This book introduces audiences to a new Fanon, a more personal Fanon and one whose literary and psychiatric works, in particular, take centre stage. These writings provide new depth and complexity to our understanding of Fanon’s entire oeuvre revealing more of his powerful thinking about identity, race and activism which remain remarkably prescient. Shedding new light on the work of a major 20th-century philosopher, this disruptive and moving work will shape how we look at the world.

For more information, see


4.4 Critically Mediterranean Temporalities, Aesthetics, and Deployments of a Sea in Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

Ed. by Yasser Elhariry and Edwige Tamalet Talbayev

Traversed by masses of migrants and wracked by environmental and economic change, the Mediterranean has come to connote crisis. In this context, Critically Mediterranean asks how the theories and methodologies of Mediterranean studies may be brought to bear upon the modern and contemporary periods. Contributors explore how the Mediterranean informs philosophy, phenomenology, the poetics of time and space, and literary theory. Ranging from some of the earliest twentieth-century material on the Mediterranean to Edmond Amran El Maleh, Christoforos Savva, Orhan Pamuk, and Etel Adnan, the essays ask how modern and contemporary Mediterraneans may be deployed in political, cultural, artistic, and literary practice. The critical Mediterranean that emerges is plural and performative—a medium through which subjects may negotiate imagined relations with the world around them. Vibrant and deeply interdisciplinary, Critically Mediterranean offers timely interventions for a sea in crisis.

For more information, see


4.5 No Exit: Arab Existentialism, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Decolonization (University of Chicago Press, 2018)

By Yoav Di-Capua

It is a curious and relatively little-known fact that for two decades—from the end of World War II until the late 1960s—existentialism’s most fertile ground outside of Europe was in the Middle East, and Jean-Paul Sartre was the Arab intelligentsia’s uncontested champion. In the Arab world, neither before nor since has another Western intellectual been so widely translated, debated, and celebrated.

By closely following the remarkable career of Arab existentialism, Yoav Di-Capua reconstructs the cosmopolitan milieu of the generation that tried to articulate a political and philosophical vision for an egalitarian postcolonial world. He tells this story by touring a fascinating selection of Arabic and Hebrew archives, including unpublished diaries and interviews. Tragically, the warm and hopeful relationships forged between Arab intellectuals, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and others ended when, on the eve of the 1967 war, Sartre failed to embrace the Palestinian cause. Today, when the prospect of global ethical engagement seems to be slipping ever farther out of reach, No Exit provides a timely, humanistic account of the intellectual hopes, struggles, and victories that shaped the Arab experience of decolonization and a delightfully wide-ranging excavation of existentialism’s non-Western history.

For more information, see

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