Hélène de Gobineau’s Noblesse d’Afrique

Prof Margaret Majumdar, Professor of Francophone Studies, University of Portsmouth December 2014’s edition of Le Monde diplomatique discusses the newly republished edition of Hélène de Gobineau’s Noblesse d’Afrique by Présence africaine (Paris, 2014), along with other works relating to the role of African colonial troops in the two world wars. Originally published in Paris in 1946 by Fasquelle éditeurs, this book relates the experiences and stories of African soldiers during the Second World War. These were told to Hélène de Gobineau during her time as a volunteer in prisoner-of-war camps and hospitals where she came into contact with captured African soldiers, many of whom would die of disease, especially tuberculosis. They are remarkable for the stories of individual courage in the fight to preserve a basic human dignity, while not devoid of humour and everyday concerns. Hélène de Gobineau (1903-1958) studied ethnology at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris and was married to the grandson of Arthur de Gobineau, author of Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines. She clearly did not share the latter’s views on racial inequality and praised the strength and humanity of the African soldiers who took part in the Second World War, as well as their desire […]

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MA by Research (MRes) African Studies at the University of Portsmouth (UK)

We are now recruiting for September 2015 entry (full or part time) on the MA by Research (MRes) African Studies programme at the University of Portsmouth. Internationally-recognised staff teaching on the course include Tony Chafer, a leading specialist on France’s colonial and post-colonial relations with sub-Saharan Francophone Africa, and Natalya Vince, a leading specialist on Algerian history and Franco-Algerian relations. The teaching team has developed excellent links with the universities of Algiers and Dakar and also with the Ecole Normale (teacher-training college) in Algiers. All students on the course will take a 30-credit module entitled France and Africa: Decolonisation and Post-Colonial Relations. They will also do a 60-credit Research Methods programme and a 90-credit dissertation. Students on the course will be encouraged to undertake a placement in Senegal as part of the programme. The course is likely to appeal to students from a wide variety of disciplines, including languages and area studies, history, politics and development studies. French language is NOT a course requirement. For more information, please contact tony.chafer@port.ac.uk.

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