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Cercle de Lectures - Chasseurs d'Afrique, notes pour une histoire du regard

Noir sur blanc. Clichés en tous genres

18h 30 - 20h
18h 30 - 20h
Cité Auditorium (3, rue Genistre)

Free entrance


On registration

In French

Beginning in October 2020, Corina Ciocârlie and the Cercle Cité introduce a new cycle of encounters devoted to the phenomenon of migration as seen by writers and photographers. 

Placed under the distorting magnifying glass of white "explorers", the Dark Continent is never (or almost never) seen in a fair light: sometimes overexposed or caricatured, sometimes under-exposed, or even erased from the map. While Alfredo Jaar, the Chilean artist, now represents Africa as an Atlantis – a submersible continent engulfed by the black tide of oblivion – whole generations of novelists, beginning with Maupassant, closely followed by Conrad and Céline, have never ceased to exploit its folklore potential.

On meeting Mr Walter at a society dinner and holding forth "with a certain boastful eloquence" on the colonisation of Algeria, Georges Duroy, alias Bel-Ami (1885), and director of La Vie française, finds himself commissioned to write a "fanciful little series" of articles entitled Memories of an Africa hunter. Seated at his table the young man looks for the words to recount in the most "charming" manner possible "the Africa of vagabond Arabs and unknown negroes, the unexplored and tempting Africa whose incredible beasts, misshapen rhinoceroses, and gorillas, man's frightening brothers, sometimes exhibited in public gardens, seem to have been created for a fairy tale". Building up sensational details and pompous descriptions "with the ungainly style of a schoolboy and the language of a NCO", Duroy will finally draft a chronicle resembling a "chaos of follies" –which will of course be rejected by the management of the newspaper but this will hardly prevent him from taking himself for a future special correspondent.

Three quarters of a century later, when Roland Barthes published his Mythologies (1957), Africa hunters prove to be still as enterprising as Georges Duroy, still as boastful as Tartarin of Tarascon as he set off to hunt lions in Algeria in 1872. Among the petit-bourgeois myths that enable steak and chips to stand alongside the new Citroën and the epic of the Tour de France, Africa is well and truly transformed into a "somewhat dangerous clown". As proof, this story that Paris-Match wished to make into a scoop entitled "Bichon among the Negroes": the reader is invited to wax rapturous on the courage of the couple of young teachers who set out with their young child to explore the land of the Cannibals in order to make paintings there. Barthes's analysis needs no commentary: "Bichon is a good little French boy, he tames and subjects the savages without encountering any opposition: at the age of two, instead of going to the Bois de Boulogne, he is already working for the homeland, exactly like his Dad who, we don't really know why, shares the life of camel riders and hunts down "pillagers" in the bush".

Register here.
(Due to the current health crisis, the capacity at our events is limited. Therefore, if after registering you are unable to attend, we kindly invite you to contact us as soon as possible by e-mail ( so that we can free up your space for others).

In accordance with the health regulations linked to the Covid-19 Pandemic, the number of visitors is limited and prior registration for the event is required. 
Wearing a mask upon entrance, as well as maintaining a social distance between visitors is mandatory. 

Cercle Cité, in collaboration with Corina Ciocârlie

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