Exile in Francophone women's autobiographical writing

Wimbush, Antonia Helen (2018). Exile in Francophone women's autobiographical writing. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines exile in contemporary autobiographical narratives written in French by women from across the Francophone world. The analysis focuses on work by Nina Bouraoui (Algeria), Gisele Pineau (Guadeloupe), Veronique Tadjo (Cote d'Ivoire), and Kim Lefevre (Vietnam), and investigates how the French colonial project has shaped female articulations of mobility and identity in the present. This comparative, cross-cultural, and cross-generational study engages with postcolonial theory, gender theory, and autobiographical theory in order to create a new framework with which to interpret women's experiences and expressions of displacement across the Francosphere.

The thesis posits that existing models of exile do not fully explain the complex situations of the four authors, who do not have a well-defined 'home' and 'host' country. Although marginalised by their gender, they are economically privileged and have chosen to live a rootless existence, which nonetheless renders them alienated and 'out of place'. The thesis thus argues that women's narratives of exile challenge and complicate existing paradigms of exile which have a male, patriarchal focus. By turning our attention to these women and their specific postcolonial gendered narratives, a more nuanced understanding of exile emerges: exile is experienced as a sexual, gendered, racial, and/or linguistic otherness.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Modern Languages
Funders: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DC France
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
P Language and Literature > PC Romance languages
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/8100


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