French Tropicalism

At the occasion of the recent publication of Senegalese philosopher Souleymane Bachir Diagne’s book ‘African Art as Philosophy: Senghor, Bergson and the Idea of Negritude’ (originally published in French in 2007) and listening to this interview where he speaks about his new book, ‘Bergson Postcolonial’, I intended to write a short post wondering why it often takes years before important work by African authors (both fiction and non-fiction) that is originally published in French becomes available in English — if at all. Browsing through English news and culture blogs focussing on ‘all things African’, one does find a lot of visual work (by francophone artists, fashionistas or musicians) because that work is easy to blog and reblog (Tumblr & co), but when it comes to engaging with French opinions and writings… it’s a desert out there. Continue reading