Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Mourning the Mother, Mourning the World: Caribbean Writing as “World Literature"

28 January 2020, 5:30 pm–7:30 pm


We are delighted to welcome as our speaker at this seminar Dr Sara-Louise Cooper, Lecturer in French at the University of Kent and author of Memory Across Borders: Nabokov, Perec, Chamoiseau (Legenda, 2016). Chaired by Jordan Phillips (UCL)

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Jennifer Rushworth


IAS Seminar room 11
First floor, South Wing, UCL
United Kingdom

This is part of the UCL/LINKS seminar on World Literature.

‘World literature’ has attracted much interest in recent years as a category which might allow movements beyond national frameworks, seen as too constraining to account for the movements of people, books and ideas in a globalized world. Yet conceptions of ‘world literature’ have largely focused on Anglophone texts, and have sometimes suffered from a presentist bias and a lack of attention to the material histories of oppression which have been part of the emergence of a globalized world. Caribbean writing in French, though often concerned with the contemporary reality of globalization, rarely looks at the present in isolation from the past. Instead, it draws the most recent forms of globalization into dialogue with the early modern moment of contact between the two hemispheres and the Enlightenment boom in global commodities. This paper offers a series of close readings of writing on motherhood by Maryse Condé and Patrick Chamoiseau to show how these writers’ evocation of the world layers the early modern, the Enlightenment and the contemporary. Secondly, it shows how the figure of the mother is connected to portrayals of the environment which root global circulation in the histories of environmental damage and human suffering first wrought by the production of global commodities.

Sara-Louise Cooper is Lecturer in French at the University of Kent. She is the author of Memory Across Borders: Nabokov, Perec, Chamoiseau (Legenda, 2017) and is working on a monograph, Where Word Meets World: Caribbean Writing in French as ‘World Literature’.