Symbolic Exchanges: Haiti, Brazil and the Ethnopoetics of Cultural Identity

by Mompoint, Myriam

Abstract (Summary)
This work is a comparative study of the influence of the pan-Africanist discourse of ethnographers Dr. Jean Price-Mars of Haiti and Dr. Arthur Ramos of Brazil, and its impact on the respective literatures and cinemas of the two nations. Beginning in the first quarter of the 20th Century, and stemming from a developing auto-ethnography undertaken by the two scholars, a growing concern over defining cultural identity inspired a generation of writers to appropriate ethnographic methodology and apply it to their fictional works. The discourse of representation, which looked to popular sources for inspiration (Haitian Indigénisme and Brazilian Regionalismo, or which rebelled against literary conventions (modernists of both nations), gave rise to a contentious dispute over a State-sanctioned national identity versus a cultural identity spearheaded by the literati. In looking at the battle over signification, I examine the development of an ethnopoetics in the works of such writers as René Depestre, Jean-Baptiste Cinéas, Jacques Roumain, Jorge Amado, Rachel de Queiroz, Mário de Andrade and others, that is persistently used to subvert and oppose the official discourse of the State and its allies. Following the model provided by the Indigénistes, Regionalists and Modernists, and utilizing the framework of French filmmaker Jean Rouchs conceptualization of ethnofictions, the final chapter of the dissertation examines the blurring of the lines between narrative cinema and documentary as a counterdiscursive strategy in Haitian and Brazilian films.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Steven Butterman, Ph. D.; Ralph Heyndels, Ph. D.; Michelle Warren, Ph. D.; William Rothman, Ph. D.; Marc Brudzinski, Ph. D.

School:University of Miami

School Location:USA - Florida

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:french arts sciences


Date of Publication:05/12/2008

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