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The Poetics of Colonial Aurality

The Poetics of Colonial Aurality

(p.31) One The Poetics of Colonial Aurality
Creolized Aurality
Jérôme Camal
University of Chicago Press

This chapter explores the long history of imperial entanglements–from plantation to “Republican” colony, from colony to (post)colonial overseas department–to expose how they have shaped listening regimes in Guadeloupe. This history affords an opportunity to develop the twin metaphors of fleeing and homing to describe the dual strategies of resistance and accommodation that were essential to survival on the colonial plantation. In doing so, the chapter explores the social, political, and audible entanglements of the French Empire from a Guadeloupean perspective. Since the seventeenth-century emergence of plantation societies in the French Antilles, plantation owners, overseers, colonial administrators, petits blancs, and slaves have partaken in complex relationships of desire, borrowing, assimilation, alienation, and resistance that have shaped its social poetics. With Continental France and West African nations serving as constant and opposing poles of attraction and repulsion, music and sounds have contributed to strategies of memorialization, institution building, social control, and social advancement. In this context, sounds in general–and music most particularly–form contested auralities, sonic markers to which different and differing meanings and values can be attached.

Keywords:   empire, colonialism, assimilation, resistance, accommodation, slavery, alienation, social poetics, listening regime, contested aurality

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