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Navigating the African DiasporaThe Anthropology of Invisibility$
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Donald Martin Carter

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780816647774

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816647774.001.0001

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Sites of Erasure

Sites of Erasure

Black Prisoners and the Poetry of Léopold Sédar Senghor

(p.173) Chapter 5 Sites of Erasure
Navigating the African Diaspora

Donald Martin Carter

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter traces the life and works of Léopold Sédar Senghor, the former president of Senegal. Senghor’s poetry allows for a rare glimpse of the life of a colonial soldier through his experiences as a prisoner of war (POW) in France during the Second World War. The colonial soldier served as a transition between colonialism and postcolonialism—and to Senghor and many others like him during the time, it was another mode of exile. Even in France he was dehumanized and paraded around for the benefit of the colonial self-image, resulting in a hypervisibility that verged on the other extreme—invisibility. Perhaps it came as no surprise then that there were few contributions to the legacy of the colonial soldier after the Second World War. The latter was a period of extensive cultural production, but even then the histories of colonial Africa were overshadowed by Western colonial narratives.

Keywords:   Léopold Sédar Senghor, hypervisibility, colonialism, postcolonialism, colonial soldier, Second World War, France, exile, poetry

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