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Duke University Press

Monsters and Revolutionaries: Colonial Family Romance and Metissage

Monsters and Revolutionaries: Colonial Family Romance and Metissage

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In Monsters and Revolutionaries Fran oise Verg s analyzes the complex relationship between the colonizer and colonized on the Indian Ocean island of R union. Through novels, iconography, and texts from various disciplines including law, medicine, and psychology, Verg s constructs a political and cultural history of the island's relations with France. Woven throughout is Verg s's own family history, which is intimately tied to the history of R union itself.
Originally settled by sugar plantation owners and their Indian and African slaves following a seventeenth-century French colonial decree, R union abolished slavery in 1848. Because plantation owners continued to import workers from India, Africa, Asia, and Madagascar, the island was defined as a place based on mixed heritages, or m tissage. Verg s reads the relationship between France and the residents of R union as a family romance: France is the seemingly protective mother, La M re-Patrie, while the people of R union are seen and see themselves as France's children. Arguing that the central dynamic in the colonial family romance is that of debt and dependence, Verges explains how the republican ideals of the French Revolution and the Enlightenment are seen as gifts to R union that can never be repaid. This dynamic is complicated by the presence of m tissage, a source of anxiety to the colonizer in its refutation of the "purity" of racial bloodlines. For Verg s, the island's history of slavery is the key to understanding m tissage, the politics of assimilation, constructions of masculinity, and emancipatory discourses on R union.

Author: Françoise Vergès
Publisher: Duke University Press
Published: 06/11/1999
Pages: 416
Binding Type: Paperback
Weight: 1.46lbs
Size: 8.97h x 5.85w x 1.22d
ISBN: 9780822322948

About the Author

Françoise Vergès is a Lecturer at the School of European Studies at the University of Sussex. She recently collaborated with Isaac Julien on a film about Frantz Fanon.

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