How Do You Say Blackface in French?: Translating and Anchoring the Black Experience in the Hexagon

This talk seeks to define the contours of the Black presence in ‘colorblind’ France, by specifically addressing the language barrier currently keeping key notions outside of French public discourse. From the normalized use of American-English words and concepts, to the reticence to anchor Blackness in the French language, to the lack of recognition of the nation’s ties to slavery and colonialism, France has developed a culture that firmly cultivates the belief that anti-Black sentiments and racism only affect other societies. The untold story of French slavery and colonialism, as well as the powerful race-blind ideology tremendously effects the country’s ability to acknowledge that racial exclusion and oppression are a lived reality for racial minorities. In front of France’s peculiar desire to remain silent about race, this lecture seeks to reinscribe the Afro-French experience into the country’s language and history.

April 10, 6:30pm | Griffin 3

Mame Fatou NiangMame-Fatou Niang is Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies atCarnegie Mellon University and co-director of the documentary, Mariannes Noires: Mosaïques Afropèennes.

Sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages with generous support from the Lecture Committee, the Davis Center, the programs in Africana Studies and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Department of German and the Center for Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures