La langue de Césaire: Plotting French Aesthetic Production beyond the Métropole is an open-source digital resource for students of French and literature in French. La Langue de Césaire responds to and reflects the following reality: by 2050, it is estimated that up to 85% of the world’s French speakers could live on the African continent. Already, nearly half (44%) of French speakers across the globe are located in sub-Saharan Africa.
French no longer is la langue de Molière, but the language of Aimé Césaire, Ousmane Sembène, Assia Djebar, and the many other writers, poets, artists, and performers working in French across the globe. French is an African, Caribbean, and Indian Ocean language that continues to change through contact with languages such as Arabic, Wolof, Bambara, Tamazight, and Haitian creole, among many others.
Pedagogical tools and syllabi for French learners in anglophone contexts, namely the U.S. and U.K., overwhelmingly focus on metropolitan French as a standard. Such resources take canonical works of metropolitan literature as illustrative of linguistic norms and representative of cultural production in French. La Langue de Césaire proposes a “counter-canon,” inviting students to discover the linguistic and geographic scope of literature in French through diverse readings from the Antilles, Senegal, Algeria, Morocco, Madagascar, Mauritius, and beyond.
We invite students, instructors, and language and literature enthusiasts to join us in an ongoing effort to counter structural, racial, sex and gender-based pedagogical biases in French-language pedagogy.
Doyle Calhoun & Walid Bouchakour
Yale University, Department of French