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Fellow @ University of Liverpool


Dr Antonia Wimbush is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of Languages, Cultures and Film at the University of Liverpool. Her current research project examines cultural responses to post-war migration from the French Caribbean to mainland France. Her first monograph, Autofiction: A Female Francophone Aesthetic of Exile, was published with Liverpool University Press in 2021. Other recent publications include a co-edited special issue of Francosphères entitled ‘Postcolonial Realms of Memory in the Francophone World’ and the co-edited volume Queer(y)ing Bodily Norms in Francophone Culture (Peter Lang, 2021). She completed her PhD in Francophone Postcolonial Literature at the University of Birmingham in 2018 and held teaching roles at Birmingham and Bath before commencing her Leverhulme Fellowship.

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Migration and mobility in Caribbean literature


Caribbean Diasporic Identity across Generations: Fabienne Kanor’s D’eaux douces

In the 1960s and 70s, people from the French Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique migrated in their masses to mainland France to find work, creating a large diasporic Caribbean community in mainland France. This was not a spontaneous form of migration, however. From 1963 to 1982, the French government actively facilitated the emigration of its Caribbean citizens through the BUMIDOM (Bureau for the Development of Migration in the Overseas Departments). Guadeloupeans and Martinicans were given a paid plane ticket and were found work in transportation and domestic service. Yet even though they were French citizens, they were often treated as migrants and were subjected to racial discrimination. This paper examines the diasporic identity of those emigrating through the BUMIDOM and their descendants in Fabienne Kanor’s 2004 novel D’eaux douces. Kanor herself is personally connected to the BUMIDOM – her parents arrived in France via the Bureau. As Ashcroft et al posit, diaspora is understood not only as a geographical dispersal of a particular community, but also as ‘the identity, memory, and home which such displacement produces’ (2002: 218). Kanor’s novel demonstrates clearly that emigration via the BUMIDOM transforms this notion of home. It also reveals that often it is a younger generation, who did not emigrate themselves, who experience more acutely sentiments of rootlessness and alienation, as they endeavour to make sense of who they are and where they have come from.

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