Aimé Césaire’s Enduring Legacy

Wednesday, 26 June 2013 (2-5pm)
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Etterbeek Campus
Building C, 5th floor, Room 402

On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of Aimé Césaire (°26 June 1913 – †17 April 2008), the Platform for Postcolonial Readings will devote its 2013 summer meeting to this African-Caribbean writer, intellectual and politician, best known as the founding father of Négritude. To complement the public event that Passa Porta and PEN Vlaanderen are hosting in Brussels in the evening (venue to be announced), we meet in the afternoon for an academic discussion of Césaire’s work and legacy.

Born in Basse-Pointe, Martinique, Aimé Césaire studied in Paris, where he established the literary journal L’Étudiant Noir with fellow intellectuals Léopold Sédar Senghor and Léon Damas. Together they also founded the negritude movement, an anti-imperialist movement that drew its strength from a strong belief in the shared heritage of the black diaspora.

This meeting of the Platform for Postcolonial Readings will focus on the impact that Césaire’s ideas have had on the emergence and development of postcolonial thinking. In particular, we will discuss how the legacy of Césaire can be fruitfully deployed to address contemporary issues and specific questions that arise in postcolonial Africa and Europe today.

The meeting aims to gather enthusiastic researchers for a keynote lecture by Prof. dr. Kathleen Gyssels (University of Antwerp) on The Three Unequal Sides of the Négritude Triangle: Césaire, Senghor, Damas, followed by close readings and intensive discussions, all focused on Césaire’s significance in the emergence of, and on-going developments within, postcolonial studies today. A reader with required reading material will be distributed in preparation of the seminar.

The seminar is open to all Research Master & PhD students working in the field of postcolonial studies and by extension to anyone interested in examining Césaire’s work more in depth. If you would like to participate, please register with Eloe Kingma of NICA/OSL ( If you would like to present your research project in the light of the meeting’s topic, please contact Elisabeth Bekers ( Active participation by Research Master students (presentation, response, short paper) may be awarded with 1 EC credit.

The Platform for Postcolonial Readings organizes seminars for (junior) researchers in the Netherlands and Belgium who are committed to issues of postcoloniality and globalization. As an open network, platform for debate, and reading group, the platform and its meetings are open to all, but registration is required.

Organizers: Elisabeth Bekers (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Sarah De Mul (Open Universiteit), Isabel Hoving (Universiteit Leiden), Liesbeth Minnaard (Universiteit Leiden)