Theatre Survey

Research Article

FRAMEWORKS FOR INTERPRETING FRENCH CARIBBEAN WOMEN'S THEATRE: INA CÉSAIRE'S ISLAND MEMORIES AT THE THÉÂTRE DU CAMPAGNOL

Emily Sahakian

The plays and performances of French Caribbean women, which have mostly been examined in the French language and in the field of French literary studies, require a new theorization of postcolonial theatre. Highly influenced by what I call French universalism, French Caribbean women's theatre moves continuously between evoking Caribbean and gender difference and mobilizing the concept of the human universal. Their work enacts a restorative postcolonial women's agenda that is specific to the cultural context of the French overseas departments of Martinique and Guadeloupe.

Emily Sahakian is a doctoral candidate in Northwestern University's Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama (IPTD), working on a dual Ph.D. with the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. She completed a Maîtrise degree in 2004 at the Sorbonne Nouvelle, where she wrote her master's thesis on French Caribbean women's theatre. Examining Martinican and Guadeloupean women's plays at the Ubu Repertory Theater in New York, her dissertation investigates theatre as a cultural translation of traumatic memory.

Footnotes

Research for this essay was made possible by several grants from Northwestern University: the French Interdisciplinary Group Travel Grant, the Program in African American History Travel Grant, and the Paris Program in Critical Theory Fellowship. I would like to express my gratitude to Christiane Makward, who provided valuable feedback as well as the production images from her personal collection, and to Sandra Richards, whose insightful comments helped me develop my argument. I would also like to thank two anonymous readers for their helpful comments and Catherine Cole and Leo Cabranes-Grant, whose generous editorial support guided me greatly as I shaped the final version of this essay.