Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

Art

Sub-Department

French

First Advisor

Jeanne Garane

Abstract

I am translating an excerpt of the work L’esclavage raconté à ma fille, by the French Guianese politician Christiane Taubira. A former Minister of Justice of France, Taubira is famous for her legislative work in recognizing slavery as a crime against humanity and instituting national educational efforts on the subject. The book is an exposition of the history of slavery, set in a storytelling, question-and-answer style, which has the merit of bringing a conversational and accessible aspect to a difficult topic.

I chose this work at the recommendation of one of my professors, and when I was unable to find an English translation, I decided to try my hand at producing one. As I read the original text, I was struck by the historical revelations Taubira offered, and I began to wonder what our American educational system would look like if we incorporated this perspective in our history courses. One of the most striking features of L’esclavage raconté à ma fille is its refusal to remain impersonal: the stories that Taubira explores during the conversation with her daughter are human, real and personal, and it is impossible to leave the text without a sense of abject outrage and the desire to make change for the greater good of society.

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