Jimia Boutouba selected as CAH fellow for her project: War, Race and Sexual Politics in French Indochina
This two-part research project investigates French imperial history by tracing the crisscross colonial trajectories of people displaced across the French imperial map. Unsettling colonial cartography, the project attends to narratives of south-south encounters, transnational solidarities in the midst of anti-colonial wars, unexpected unions, invisibilized “métis” (mixed-raced) populations, and forced departures. The project represents new forays into the history of French imperialism, and provides an innovative approach to understanding French imperialist policies and war campaigns by drawing on rare archival materials, and testimonies from unknown and/or previously unheard minoritized perspectives: those of Black Asian children born during the war of Indochina (1946-1954), and accounts by North-African sex-workers who were brought to Indochina on a government-approved program of mobile prostitution to “service” combat and support soldiers overseas. In investigating these complex stories that emerge at the intersection of Asian, African and French imperial histories, my project seeks to shed a new light on the nexus of racial and sexual politics at the heart of French imperialism as well as center the perspectives and historical agency of minoritized trans-imperial groups whose voices and stories are seldom considered as legitimate historical records.
The CAH Fellows Program supports research and creative work in the arts and humanities by faculty and students. Each year a cohort of faculty and student fellows pursue projects funded by the CAH, develop collaborative programming based on those projects, and join each other in community-building both on and off campus.