Identités contrôlées : exposer les tabous dans la littérature et culture antillaises
This dissertation examines topic of taboo social and psychological issues in Caribbean literature and culture and how they inform the relationship between France and its former colonies in the region. It argues that the accumulated traumas of slavery, colonization, and more recently the departmentalization of 1946 have impacted identity construction among French Caribbean populations, which have unconsciously reacted by rejecting what is seen as French cultural imposition and forced assimilation. Specifically, the topics of homosexuality and race relations have provoked conflicts and discomfiture in literature and in popular discourse. The dissertation interprets the tensions, silences and erasures as reactions to and means of subversion against the French neocolonialism. While research in the field has focused on postcolonial identity at the intersection of race and sexuality, this dissertation expands the range of inquiry on postcolonial identity reconstruction by incorporating psychoanalysis. As such, it uncovers how traumas have impacted identity specifically by addressing the islands’ central conflict: the reliance on economic support from metropolitan France on the one hand, and, on the other, an ambivalence regarding France’s imposed identitarian values.