Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
Dissertation Defense: Aaron Witcher, “POÉTIQUES MARRONNES: LIGNES DE FUITES, RECRÉATION CULTURELLE ET ERRANCE DANS LA LITTÉRATURE MARTINIQUAISE”

Dissertation Defense: Aaron Witcher, “POÉTIQUES MARRONNES: LIGNES DE FUITES, RECRÉATION CULTURELLE ET ERRANCE DANS LA LITTÉRATURE MARTINIQUAISE”

May 16, 2022
10:00AM
– 12:00PM
226 Burrowes Bldg

Abstract

My dissertation project investigates the poetic afterlives of marronage, broadly defined as the act of the enslaved escaping the space of the plantation. More specifically, it examines how writers from Martinique find inspiration in the performative dynamics of marronage—such as flight, cultural transplantation, memory, and errantry—and “translate” them into poetics, or modes of expression that inflect both the form and the content of their novels. To this end, I theorize what I call “marooning poetics” as a creative practice that draws aesthetic and epistemological inspiration from historical acts of marooning. My research takes Martinique as its main site of analysis, and focuses on the decolonial works of authors such as Édouard Glissant, Patrick Chamoiseau, Fabienne Kanor, and Alfred Alexandre. That said, the themes and ideas I develop resonate in other (post)colonial spaces of the Greater Caribbean, the US South, and the Indian Ocean. Within these contexts, the notion of “marooning poetics” allows particular engagement with the experience and history of enslaved/maroon populations, specifically how their afterlives enact unique modes of thought, expression, and flight, many of which perform decolonial work. With its esthetic and literary transpositions of maroon praxes, “marooning poetics” likewise permits the literary expression and development of Creole identities and cultures, of which significant parts come out of enslaved/maroon experience.