A study of young intellectuals from the French African and Caribbean colonies in the Hexagon
Nagai Atsuko, Professor
Faculty of Humanities, Department of French Literature
Since the 1920’s, young elites from French colonies in Africa and the Caribbean studied in the Hexagon as national scholarship students. Some, after earning diplomas, returned to their home countries to hold important posts. Others chose to stay in the Hexagon to try to achieve success there. Although they seemed to have access to an equal educational system developed under the third republic, based on the values of egalitarianism, in fact, this equality was not a reality and their career path up, the ladder of success was not assured.
In paticular, Jules Monnerot (1908 – 1995), a writer and sociologist born in Fort-de-France in Martinique, is the perfect example of a student from the colonies who tried to make his way in France. However, what distinguished him from many other colonial intellectuals, such as Aimé Césaire, was his strong desire to assimilate into French society and culture and to distance himself from the separatist movement. Unfortunately, in spite of his wish to be accepted as a French citizen, he was always viewed as an outsider by the French intelligentsia. Although disillusioned by the reality of always being perceived as an outsider, Monnerot struggled to not be occupied by personal resentment, but rather to develop his academic ideologies and was a prolific writer on the subject of sociology.
I plan to expand my research into other intellectuals from the French colonies.