Le « grin » de Fanon et le théâtre postcolonial en France

Finburgh Delijani, Clare. 2023. Le « grin » de Fanon et le théâtre postcolonial en France. Théâtre/Public, 246, ISSN 0335-2927 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This article examines the racist cliché of the ‘grin’, theorised by Frantz Fanon in Peau noire, masques blancs (1952). Fanon’s ‘grin’ contributes towards an understanding of how obliging obedience and smiling subservience were extracted by force from colonised subjects; and how the legacies of this social oppression and racist discrimination are apparent in the assimilationist policies to which postcolonial migrant and postmigrant populations are expected to conform today both in France, and in its former empire. Importantly, Fanon suggests that the apparently genial smile of the colonised subject only half conceals indignation, anger and resistance. Through the lens of recent ‘postcolonial’ theatre in France – notably Nasser Djemaï’s Une Étoile pour Noël (2005-15) and Elemawusi Agbedjidji’s, Transe-maître(s) (2018) – I illustrate how the persistent and pernicious racist stereotype of the ‘grinning’, amenable immigrant, postmigrant or postcolonial citizen can give way to protest. Mindful not to perpetuate images of subservience or oppression, these plays demonstrate how theatre can expose the mechanics of racist images, and stage counter-images. As Fanon’s fellow Martinican Aimé Césaire puts it, ‘ni asservissement, ni assimilation’: ‘émancipation’.

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Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Theatre and Performance (TAP)


January 2023Published

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Date Deposited:

25 Nov 2022 16:47

Last Modified:

01 Jul 2023 01:26

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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