Citation McQueen F (2019) Postcolonial Paris: Fictions of intimacy in the City of Light. Review of: Postcolonial Paris: Fictions of intimacy in the City of Light, by Laila Amine, Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 2018. Modern and Contemporary France, 27 (2), pp. 268-269. https://doi.org/10.1080/09639489.2018.1562428
Abstract First paragraph: Laila Amine seeks to problematise the dominant perceptions of Paris that perceive only the city’s glamorous centre, coded as white, by exploring artistic works from the city’s literal and figurative margins: works either produced by artists of postcolonial immigrant descent from banlieues stigmatised as exterior spaces of racial and cultural alterity, or depicting these spaces and populations. Amine’s exploration of a corpus that includes literary texts, films, and street art is presented in roughly chronologically ordered chapters, starting with works from the 1950s and ending in the contemporary period; she persuasively argues that these works underline the centrality of the socio-spatial exclusion of postcolonial immigrants and their descendants from the construction of the dominant images of Paris throughout this period. She also problematises the binary distinction often drawn between dangerous, foreign banlieues and a putatively civilised ‘French’ city centre. While the banlieues are often dangerous for the protagonists of the texts she studies, central Paris is also a space of marginalisation, exclusion, and exploitation. Amine communicates these ideas by approaching her corpus through the lens of intimacy: a framework which allows her to engage with how her texts both invoke and subvert tropes as varied as the colonial harem, interracial romance, and the ‘brotherhood’ of men from different oppressed minority groups.
Journal Modern and Contemporary France: Volume 27, Issue 2