Fictions of Whiteness. Imagining the Planter Caste in the French Caribbean Novel

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McCusker’s Fictions of Whiteness is the first full-length study of the representation of the plantation master or mistress in Antillean fiction and culture. It breaks new theoretical ground in engaging with Critical Whiteness Studies, almost entirely ignored in French-language criticism. Critical Whiteness Studies interrogates the “unexamined norm” of whiteness, a default against which other “races” are positioned. But White Creoles constitute a tiny (1%), highly privileged, minority, a fact that complicates the application of models generated in contexts of white dominance. Moreover, the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique are départements d’outre-mer, and therefore problematically located in a “color-blind” Republic that prides itself on not recognizing racial difference. In a study that ranges from the earliest fiction to the present day, embracing canonical authors (Glissant; Chamoiseau; Condé; Confiant) and less familiar ones (Maynard; Cabort-Masson; Jaham), McCusker tests the relevance and limitations of this theoretical model, and deploys a range of other approaches (narratology; psychoanalysis; postcolonial theory). The ultimate aim is to better understand the invention, construction and sanctification of whiteness in the 'vieilles colonies', laboratories in which the colonial mission took shape, and whose history continues to haunt, in often spectacular ways, metropolitan France today.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Virginia Press
Number of pages220
ISBN (Electronic)9780813946795
ISBN (Print)9780813946788
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021


  • Slave master and mistress; Béké; Critical Race Studies; Whiteness; fiction; French Caribbean; Guadeloupe; Martinique


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