Emigration literature and cinema mostly depict irregular immigrants as damned characters with no place in a global world. Notwithstanding their plight, "harragas" who "burn" their identities on tiny and overcrowded boats eagerly make their way to Europe in life-threatening journeys which can allegorically be compared to an initiation quest. In so doing, they strive to exist, and silently cross emotional, psychological, and physical borders. Therefore, through contemporary novels and movies from North and West Africa about irregular immigration, I show how being confined in a silent process is actually a sign of resistance of undocumented French-speaking African migrants.
My dissertation is built around four main parts, namely a preliminary chapter about the theoretical perspectives, and three other chapters on border-crossing as an initiation journey, silence in irregular immigration, and the link between immigration and resistance. In my research, I refer to the concepts of silence and resistance to explore various aspects of illegal border-crossing and its aftermath. I particularly focus my findings on the bodies of "clandestine" migrants, which convey a message even though they often turn out to be corpses. In this process, I rely on Campbell's Monomyth, particularly his stages of the hero's journey, Mbembe's ideas on postcolonialism, and theories on silence developed by Van den Heuvel, de la Motte, Hanus & Nazarova, and Le Breton. I also use James Scott's theory about everyday forms of resistance, and I speak of the concept of initiation as defined by theoreticians like Amadou Ouédraogo.
In the end, border "burning" in literary productions could be analyzed as a silent act of survival and resistance of postcolonial African characters who are seeking to reverse their apparent image of losers into winners, even as they face a western world that is gradually closing its borders and behaving as a "fortress."
|Advisor:||Mielusel, Ramona, Ouédraogo, Amadou|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Modern language, North African Studies|
|Keywords:||Allegorical initiation, Border, Irregular migration, Post-colonialism, Resistance, Silence|
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