Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


The Cultural Production of Mayotte (Maore)


Modern Languages & Literatures Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Arts and Humanities


The new status of the island of Mayotte (Maore) as the fifth French Overseas Department means that Mahorais culture is now officially part of the Francophone world, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Has this change in status provided a boost to cultural production intended for audiences beyond Mayotte's coral reef? Perhaps. Indeed, officially becoming part of France has resulted in renewed tension between French and Mahorais cultures, the latter now trying to carve out a space within a society where local cultures lack official status of virtually any kind. At the same time, traditional French society is struggling to understand how to integrate Mahorais culture into its own fabric, in much the same way as it attempts to embrace the many immigrant cultures already present in the Hexagon. In recent years, performances of island dances have gained in popularity in metropolitan France, a full-length film was produced on the island that will be broadcast on the Arte network in 2013, and French-language literature, mostly penned as yet by Wazungu natives of metropolitan France living on the island - is beginning to emerge. Some strides have been made in setting the stage for a future literature in Shimaore and Kibushi, but for the most part, creative work in the islands indigenous languages remains limited to music, dance, and oral narrative. In this talk, I survey existing cultural production and point out some recent developments.

Conference Name

Modern Language Association Annual Convention

Conference Location

Chicago, IL

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