Sylvanise Frédéric 2022-2023

Posted on September 12, 2022


Research themes

  • African American literature
  • Literature and history
  • Poetry and music
  • American popular music


Current Project

In the continuity of the research I have been conducting for the past twenty years on African-American poetry and its relationship to history, to commitment and even to militancy on the one hand, and to music (in particular black music such as blues, jazz and, to a lesser extent, rap) on the other hand, I propose to undertake a research project articulated in two main parts.

The first one concerns the work of poet Robert Hayden (1913-1980), and more specifically his approach to history and to individual and collective memory. Although the poet is not a historian, he nevertheless contributes to the rewriting of official history from the point of view of the oppressed, in a polyphonic way and by privileging a pacifist approach, largely inspired by the teachings of Bahaism. Although it is essential for the black literature of the 20th century, this work has never been the subject of a monograph in France, while remaining relatively little studied in the United States since the end of the 1980s.

The other part of my project focuses on the multifaceted work of Nigerian-born artist and queer activist Camae Ayewa (aka Moor Mother), based in Philadelphia, who conceives her poetic activity in relation to contemporary music (jazz, electronic music, and recently rap), giving it a very strong oral and scenic dimension and multiplying the forms of commitment, notably against the excesses of finance, mercantilism, violence against women, police violence, or even deportations, and calling for reparation for the crimes of colonialism and imperialism.

  • 2003, Ph.D., Paris X Nanterre University. Dissertation Title: “The ideology of forms in Langston Hughes’s poetry”

  • 2005-2023, Lecturer, Sorbonne Paris-Nord University

      Selected Publications:

      • Langston Hughes : poète jazz, poète blues, ENS Editions, 2009, 226 p.
      • Hughes, Langston, Mes beaux habits au clou. Trad. de l’anglais américain [Fine Clothes to the Jew] et présenté par F. Sylvanise. Nantes, Joca Seria, 2019 [1927], 149 p.
      • Collage/Montage: aspects du modernisme africain-américain, Revue Française d’Études Américaines (154), 1er trimestre 2018, Paris, Belin (avec Claudine Raynaud)
      • Black Europe: Subjects, Struggles, and Shifting Perceptions, New York, State University of New York Press, Palimpsest, vol. 4 (2), 2015 (avec Jean-Paul Rocchi)
      • Ecriture et engagement aux États-Unis (1918-1939), Paris, Ophrys, coll. « TRAFIC », 2010, (avec Anne Ollivier-Mellios)
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      Twitter @LarcaParis