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A Schizophrenic Metaphor? Disciplining Creoleness



In this article, I take account of the disciplinary, linguistic, and historical differences that determine the various uses of the “creole” concept, whether as “creole,” “creolization,” or “créolité.” Beginning with anthropological critiques of the concept as exclusionary or theoretically flawed, I attempt to clarify these limitations by examining E. K. Brathwaite's, the Creolistes Bernabe, Chamoiseau and Confiant's, and finally Edouard Glissant's contributions to understandings of creolization. My approach attempts to clarify certain overlooked slippages in the language, and through these slippages redefine the “debate” over the concept as a process of continuous translation. Rather than valorize either the impossible negation, or utopian idealization of the possibilities of the creole, I pay particular attention to the discursive life of the term and its “translations,” both linguistic and conceptual.