Fellows

Justin BISANSWA

Literature, University of Laval, Quebec

Fellowship : October 2018 to June 2019

Discipline(s) : Literature

Pays : Canada

Research Project : History and the Imaginary in the Francophone African Novel

There is a certain critical tradition which sees the African novel as a mirror of African history, cultures, and socio-political reality, and sees it as a constellation of themes of dictatorship, poverty and underdevelopment. In opposition to this tradition, our research project aims to show that the story told by African texts can enchant us with its disenchantment, because it is first and foremost a work of imagination and, in this sense, it falls within the realm of the imaginary. The text is a linguistic artefact, a construction, organisation, and structure. We should therefore examine the value of the fantastic, symbols and metaphors and assess how they contribute to the production of the story’s meaning. Thus, the abundance of sun, birds, plants, also speaks of utopia and the dreams of these text societies, who aspire to a radical change in their situation and an improvement in their living conditions. The stories told by novelists should not be conflated with those told by historians. This project will invite us to read these texts differently.

Biography

Justin Bisanswa was born in Congo and received a university education at the Higher Pedagogical Institute of Bukavu (eastern DRC). He has a doctorate in Philosophy and Literature from the University of Liège (Belgium), specialising in the philology of Romance languages. He is a Laureate of the Alice-Seghers Foundation at the University of Liège, and a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Bonn), the Wissenschaftskolleg (Berlin), and the Stellenbosch Institute of Advanced Studies (Cape Town). He has been invited to speak at many universities and has taught at the University of Bayreuth and the University of Liège. From 2001 to 2016 he held the Canada Research Chair in Francophonie and African Literature at the University of Laval (Quebec, Canada). He teaches literature, Francophonie, and the history of ideas and ideologies, and he attempts to analyse discourses by deciphering their tricks and traps.

Major publications

BISANSWA, Justin. Francophonie au pluriel.Québec :  Cidep/Afi, 2003, 325p.

BISANSWA, Justin. Roman africain contemporain. Fictions sur la fiction de la modernité, Paris :  Honoré Champion, 2009, 221p.

BISANSWA, Justin.(sous la direction de) Dire le social dans le roma francophone, Paris: Honoré Champion, 2010, (en coll. avec Kasereka Kavwahirehi), 601p.

BISANSWA, Justin.(dir.). Entre inscriptions et prescriptions. L’engendrement de la parolede V.Y. Mudimbe, Paris : Honoré Champion, 2013, 455p.

BISANSWA, Justin. Pour Ahmadou Kourouma (En)jeux et ambivalence de la fiction, Paris : Honoré Champion, 2017, 228p.