Simone de Beauvoir and the Colonial Experience: Freedom, Violence, and Identity
Simone de Beauvoir and the Colonial Experience: Freedom, Violence, and Identity interprets the philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir and her intellectual trajectory through the perspective of French colonial history. Nathalie Nya considers Beauvoir through this lens not only to critique her position as a colonizer woman or colon, but also as a means of situating her in one of France’s most vexing and fraught historical moments. This terminology emphasizes the weight of French colonialism on Beauvoir’s identity as a white French woman, as well as the subjective and interpersonal dialectic of colonialism. Nya argues that while the French republic was systematizing colonialism, all of its white citizens were colons whereas natives from France’s colonies were the colonized.Simone de Beauvoir and the Colonial Experience presents a gendered and female perspective of French colonialism between 1946 and 1962, a time when French intellectuals such as Jean-Paul Sartre and Franz Fanon rallied against the political system, and which ultimately brought about an end to French colonialism. It adheres to a reading of Beauvoir as foremost an intellectual woman, one who reflected upon the legacy of French colonialism as an author and whose nation-bound status as a colonizer played a role in the alliance she created with Gisele Halimi and Djamila Boupacha. Beauvoir’s colonial reflections can help us to better gauge how women—White, Asian, Arab, Caribbean, Latina, mixed race, and Black—decipher the crimes and injustices of French colonialism.
Nathalie, Nya, "Simone de Beauvoir and the Colonial Experience: Freedom, Violence, and Identity" (2019). 2019 Faculty Bibliography. 41.
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