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Professor Brandon Guernsey
Brandon Guernsey’s interest in francophone Africa developed as an undergraduate while taking coursework in African history and art and studying abroad in France and Mali. After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Brandon served as an agroforestry volunteer for the U.S. Peace Corps, working for three years in Selibaby, Mauritania. The experience of living, working and traveling in the greater French speaking world heightened his interest in African literature, culture and history, and paired with his background in French, led him to specialize in francophone Africa for his graduate studies. He is particularly interested in francophone African literature, culture and film of West Africa and the Maghreb, French colonial history, and how the legacy of colonialism continues to impact the francophone world today.
Drawing from these interests, Brandon is currently at work on his dissertation, which focuses on the works of five francophone African authors writing during the Interwar period of the 1920s and 1930s. These works include Amadou Mapaté Diagne’s Les trois volontés de Malic (1920), Bakary Diallo’s Force-Bonté (1926), Lamine Senghor’s La violation d’un pays (1927), Chukri Khodja’s El-Euldj, captif des barbaresques(1929), and Ousmane Socé Diop’s Mirages de Paris (1937). Among the earliest publications of francophone African literature and predating the advent of Negritude in the 1930s, these works attest to an active literary dialogue that evolved in response to changes in the Third Republic’s colonial policies following the First World War. Taking this critical moment of French colonial history into account, Brandon’s dissertation explores how each of these works and their authors contributed to a growing sentiment of anti-colonialism that would eventually lead to African independence.
Francophone African literature, culture and film; African Diaspora; Negritude Movement; French colonial literature; French colonial history
-2013, “French Imperialism in the Crosshairs: The Influence of World War I on the Writings of Former Tirailleurs Sénégalais,” April 24th, African Studies Colloquium, University of Virginia
-2013, “A forgotten cry for revolution: Cultural nationalism and Lamine Senghor’s La violation d’un pays (1927),” 39thAnnual Conference of the African Literature Association (ALA), March 20th - 25th, Charleston, South Carolina
-2012, “Reappropriation of colonial discourse in René Vautier’s Afrique 50 and Chris Marker and Alain Resnais’s Les statues meurent aussi,” 55th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association (ASA), November 29th - December 1st, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania