Rethinking Reading, Writing, and a Moral Code in Contemporary France

Rethinking Reading, Writing, and a Moral Code in Contemporary France : Postcolonializing High Culture in the Schools of the Republic

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Rethinking Reading, Writing, and a Moral Code astutely follows the experience of learning how to read and write in French elementary and secondary schools as remembered by postcolonial authors from the 1980s and 1990s in their autobiographical novels and texts. By exploring the process of learning the language and the cultural code its literature carries, this critical text goes to the root of integration and opens new directions for observing the impact of immigration literature on contemporary postcolonial culture in France.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • 158 x 230 x 26mm | 559.99g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations, figures
  • 0739181661
  • 9780739181669

Review quote

This is a translation by Laronde of his sociocritical study Postcolonialiser la haute culture a l'ecole de la republique. Laronde explores the interplay between education in the public school system of France, immigrant literature, and French high culture. His focus is particularly on instruction in reading and writing and the assimilist goal of the French educational establishment to transmit a common cultural base, in particular through the memorization of literary excerpts referred to here as cultural 'cliches.' Relying heavily on the concept of the 'parasite' elaborated by the philosopher Michel Serres, Laronde examines the ways in which immigrant literature and film take these cliches and 'deterritorialize' (Laronde's term) them, thus creating an impact on the dominant culture of France, a process that Laronde describes as 'postcolonializing.' The study is very thought provoking and will be of special value to those interested in the interplay between immigrant literature and the culture of the host country. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty. CHOICE Michel Laronde is widely recognized as an authority on French immigration literatures. Translated from the original French, his newest book on contemporary Arabo-French and Afro-French narratives underscores the ways in which these literatures challenge the 'universal' cultural tropes inculcated in France's increasingly multicultural youth by French National Education. Grounded in the notion of 'school cliches,' Laronde's analysis investigates how postcolonial authors decenter literary stereotypes through the acts of reading and writing about canonical literature-the very acts that initiated these authors into French culture in primary school. Laronde skillfully demonstrates that, despite its attempts to reduce cultural difference, French National Education nevertheless creates a space for social criticism and cultural diversity. An important book that will undoubtedly constitute a major reference for students and scholars of Francophone and postcolonial literatures. -- Jennifer Howell, Illinois State University In this accessible and skillfully crafted study, Michel Laronde provides an important English language contribution to understanding the evolutions of modern France through its immigration literatures. Using clear examples from a wide corpus of works, Laronde carefully defines and problematizes key terms relevant to contemporary French studies while critically questioning the evolution and progression of French culture and the impact of immigrant literature. This is an important resource for anyone interested in migrant literature and its interplay with the host nation. -- Rebecca E. Leal, Elmhurst College Rethinking Reading, Writing, and a Moral Code in Contemporary France: Postcolonializing High Culture in the Schools of the Republic is the timely translation by Michel Laronde of his Postcolonialiser la Haute Culture a l'Ecole de la Republique. This insightful book astutely examines the ways in literary and filmic texts by postcolonial subjects from immigrant communities in France reinterpret and re-locate references to the classical literary models used in French schools to teach dominant linguistic and cultural values. I have long used Prof. Laronde's French-language work in my own teaching and research. I welcome this new translation as it will constitute a valuable addition to the corpus of works currently available in English on postcolonial literature and film in French. -- Jeanne Garane, University of South Carolinashow more

About Michel Laronde

Michel Laronde is professor of French and francophone studies at the University of Iowa.show more

Table of contents

Contents Translator's Notes Preface Theoretical Preamble: Displaced Discourses: Post(-)coloniality, Francophone Space(s), and the Literature(s) of Immigration in France Introduction: Writing as Sociocritics Insert 1. Premiers textes litteraires: For a Preface Chapter 1. Orality: A Code for a Postcolonial Reading? Insert 2. "A Common Basis for Knowledge" Chapter 2. From Reading to Writing. Self-Education for an "Untamed" Thinking Process Insert 3. Azouz Begag Chapter 3. The Text Robber. Textual Irony, Cultural Irony Insert 4. A Matter of Morals. 2005: "La Marseillaise" Is Back in the Schools of the Republic Insert 5. Truth and Lying: L'ingratitude Chapter 4. From One Parasite to Another or How to Circulate Between Culture and Language Insert 6. The Beur of Success Chapter 5. Tactics or Strategy? Learning Alternative Ways of Reading or How to Debunk Stereotypes Insert 7. A Play on Words: Photocopying / Photocopillage Insert 8. Recitation Chapter 6. La Fontaine and Salut Cousin!. The Margin from Inside in Arabo-French Cinema Conclusion: High Culture and Multiculturalism Notes Bibliography Indexshow more