Overseas department of France in Amazonia and ‘ultraperipheral region’ of the EU, Guyane (French Guiana) is at the juncture of Europe, the Caribbean and South America. This collection of essays explores historical and conceptual locations of Guyane, as a relational space characterised by dynamics of interaction and conflict between the local, the national and the global. Does Guyane have, or has it had, its own place in the world, or is it a borderland which can only make sense in relation to elsewhere: to France and its colonial history, for example, or to African and other diasporas, or as a ‘margin’ of Europe?
This edited collection is the first volume to study Guyane from multiple perspectives. It subjects the enduring clichés and negative stereotypes regarding Guyane to critical examination, exploring how discourse on this DOM is, and has been, formed and how it may evolve. Chapters discuss geographical, literary and cultural ‘locations’ of Guyane, past and present, challenging its relegation to the ‘periphery’, whilst also historicizing the production of its marginal status. Finally, the collection aims to outline possible future challenges to the conceptual location of Guyane and possible directions for continued research.
'The book is a fascinating challenge to historiographies of Guyane as it peels off the layers of its changing relationships with France and other places in the world, detangles its history of contact, reveals the actors involved in its many transitions from place of forced exile to high-tech center, highlights the role its penal past has played in making it “periphery”, and explains what being Guyanais today entails in a globalized world of flows where local Kreyol traditions and Maroon narratives get reinvented and shaped in the context of cultural commercialism and global art markets.'
Hélène B. Ducros, Europe Now Journal
‘This valuable interdisciplinary volume offers wide-ranging essays that examine stereotypes about France’s Amazonian outpost that go beyond simple images of the country as a ‘green hell.'
Robert Aldrich, French History