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Hamilton College

Publication Date

Winter 2020

Program Name

Senegal: Global Security and Religious Pluralism


One of the most interesting and controversial episodes in the history of the Négritude literary and philosophical movement came when two white, French authors prefaced the texts of two of the movement’s most significant authors. Jean-Paul Sartre’s “Orphée noir” is one of these texts in question, and it served as the preface for Léopold Sédar Senghor’s Anthologie de le nouvelle poésie nègre et malgache de langue française. In one sense, one might characterize Sartre as a friend to the Négritude movement, exposing it to the francophone mainstream and thereby helping it gain traction in Western academia. Viewed a different way, however, and Sartre was intruding into a dialogue in a way he did not truly understand and limiting the movement he sought to help by defining it within his own definition of Blackness. In this project, I propose to investigate the larger implications and perspectives surrounding Sartre’s essay in order to extract the most important criticisms against it as well as the most optimistic takes on what good can be salvaged from his work.


Africana Studies | African Languages and Societies | African Studies | Comparative Literature | French and Francophone Literature | International and Intercultural Communication | Race and Ethnicity


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