Thursday, February 13 4:30 pm at the French House
In this talk, Boisseron will look at Creole culture through the prism of commensalism, explaining how this ecology applies not only to the animal world but also to humans in a post-colonial context. She will argue that, ultimately, commensalism might be the best antidote to the afterlife of slavery.
In ecological terminology, commensalism refers to a class of relationship in which two organisms mutually benefit without affecting each other: there is no contract, no profit, and no need to feel indebted or grateful in a commensal relationship. One takes what is needed with no promise of return. This is often how people in Martinique and Guadeloupe relate to the liminal animal world. One leaves leftover food for the creole (stray) dog behind the house with no expectation of pet companionship in return.
Bénédicte Boisseron is Associate Professor of Afroamerican & African Studies, specializing in the fields of black diaspora studies, francophone studies, and animal studies. She received an M.A. in English from Université Denis Diderot (Paris, France) and a Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies from the University of Michigan. Click here for more about Professor Boisseron.