Black Study

Strive for the following qualities in your final paper:  originality, focus, organization, and clarity.

General Question: Discuss the role of women in the Negritude movement through the work-life of Josephine Baker.

You are not required to do outside research for this exam, but if you do, cite all library, online or internet research using MLA guidelines. You may watch one of Bakers movies on youtube:

Go to the library and do a search on Pegasus, Melvyl and the MLA Database for information on books and articles that analyze the literary work or theme you

***(Try to cite form the above resources!!!)***

Length of the essay: 3 pages (750 words)

Due: March 16that 6PM

  You may pick one from these questions or create your own based on these.  Do not attempt to answer all the questions. Select one or use one or two as inspiration to craft your own.

Discuss Josephine Baker as a reiteration of earlier Josephines of the French colonial world: Empress Josephine and Yassiguindja (notice how this is a near anagram of the name). 

Discuss the role of birthplace, citizenship, and return for Negritude women.

Discuss the importance of Josephine Bakers geography in terms of Csaires Return to the Native Land and Mayotte Capecias I am a Martinican Woman:

Birth in St. Louis, Mo, (a former French colony: La Louisianne, named after King Louis of France).

Her travel to the Metropolitan Centers of NYC and Paris.

Her return to the segregated United States.

Her death in exile, as a naturalized citizen.

The narration of her lived and imaginary geography in her songs: Jai deux amours, Hati mon pays damour, Sous le ciel dAfrique (all available on youtube and in translation on the web).

What is the relationship between Josephine Baker and the movement of Negritude in general? To the male writers: Csaire, Damas, and Senghor? To the female characters in their poems? To the women: Jane and Paulette Nardal and Suzanne Csaire. What common features bind Josephine Bakers life-work to Mayotte Capecias? What accounts for the marginalization and erasure of both women from the movement?

Discuss Josephine Bakers oeuvre as text? How can dancing be seen as a form of writing? How do the plot of her movies be read as semi autobiographical? How could this fact then be used to present Josephine Baker as a writer on the par with Csaire and Senghor?

Discuss the role of Negritude women writers in the French Resistance movement against the Nazi Regime. How does this differ or compare with the statesman role of the male Negritude writers?

What is the political significance of the Josephine Bakers banana skirt dance? How is this related to Yassiguindjas dance in Batouala? What are the Freudian dimensions of this dance? How do the boys and the colonizers castration fears collide and are mitigated by the dance of Black phallic woman? How is the dance the counterpart to the song of lament of the Orphic male writer?

How might the Sartrean idea of Black Orpheus be re-gendered from a female perspective? What is the story of the myth of Black Eurydice?