Writing the Caribbean Family - FR6530

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5)


Equivalent ability of the CEFR Level B2 in French language is required, as part of the teaching for this module will be in French, and some French texts that will used are not available in English translation.





This module presents a survey of a range of works by major Caribbean writers published since 1990. These texts explore family relationships and the related themes of childhood, memory and identity. The works will be studied in the context of social changes in the Caribbean from the 1950s onwards, including the departmentalization of Martinique and Guadeloupe, the emergence of the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti and rising rates of migration from the Caribbean to Paris and other French cities. A range of postcolonial theories will be deployed to study the ways in which these works engage with the legacy of French colonialism in the Caribbean. The aim of the module is to show how Caribbean writers use the portrayal of the family to explore how the history of colonialism is both transmitted and silenced in contemporary society.


Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 20

Method of assessment

Critical Writing Exercise (500 words) – 20%
Essay (2,500 words) – 60%
Presentation (15 minutes) – 20%

Indicative reading

Chamoiseau, P. (1994). Antan d'enfance. Paris: Gallimard
Condé, M. (2002). Le Cœur à rire et à pleurer. Paris: Pocket
Laferrière, D. (1997). Le Charme des après-midi sans fin. Paris: Zulma
Oublié, J. and Marie-Ange Rousseau. (2017). Peyi an nou. Paris: Steinkis
Schwarz-Bart, S. (1972). Pluie et vent sur Télumée Miracle. Paris: Seuil

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

- Demonstrate systematic, coherent and detailed knowledge of the works studied, and their historical, literary and political context;
- Describe and comment upon current research on the family, memory and childhood in contemporary Caribbean writing in French;
- Critically evaluate arguments, assumptions and abstract concepts relating to the portrayal of the family in the works studied in order to formulate independent arguments;
- Apply the methods and techniques of literary analysis to review, consolidate and extend knowledge acquired in lectures and seminars and to carry out independent study.

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