Cultural Métissage: A lost movement relevant for our time
Arts and Sciences
French Language and Literature, West African Literature
In West African literature, folklore has been a major cultural component in passing down traditions and history, most notably through oral tradition. However, colonialism and western thought have often pushed this history aside in order to impose, or “impart,” more “civilized” modes of culture. Cultural métissage, a movement that looks to the mixing or blending of cultures, is a way to reclaim cultural autonomy for West Africans particularly in the writing down of traditional stories in the French language. Here, we examine “Sarzan” by Birago Diop as an example of cultural métissage in two ways—first, the themes it presents in looking at ancient and modern. Secondly, the story itself is an example of cultural blending; it is a traditional Senegalese story but written in the colonizer's tongue: French. A close examination of the story itself provides a glimpse into the internal struggle between tradition and change, of old and new. This paper demonstrates how métissage is a way to understand the relevance of old tradition and customs in a new post-colonial era in which ancient and modern can live side by side.
Engholm, Miranda A., "Cultural Métissage: A lost movement relevant for our time" (2021). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 945.