Cheik Aliou Ndao's La Decision: A Senegalese Perspective on Race Relations in the American South in the '60S.
Romance Notes, 2010, Spring, 50, 3
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If the twentieth century was, in fact, the American Century, one of the consequences of America's military and economic power in the world in the period was international criticism of American policies by both allies and enemies. Since the end of World War II, Americans have learned to analyze, withstand, and/or dismiss criticism of our foreign policy from foreign governments. In the 1960s the Vietnam War was the most infamous target of international critique, but social unrest within the US did not escape world notice and concern. Such reaction is a commonplace, but Americans do not tend to consider international reaction to domestic policy, especially if that international reaction manifests itself in literature or the arts. One provocative example of just such relatively unnoticed commentary comes from an unexpected source. On first reading, Senegalese playwright Cheik Aliou Ndao's 1967 work La Decision seems almost paradoxical: a French-language drama set in the American South in the early '60s that looks at family dynamics and personal engagement in the face of the civil rights movement. The play was written and premiered at roughly the same time as another of Ndao's play that has eclipsed La Decision's reputation, L'Exil d'Albouri, a very successful history play based in the story of indigenous resistance to French colonization in the nineteenth century. L'Exil went on to win first place in the dramatic competition at the first Pan-African Culture Festival in Algiers, Algeria in 1969, assuring Ndao's preeminence among postcolonial Francophone dramatists and creating a vogue for history plays in Francophone western Africa.
- Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
- Published: Mar 22, 2010
- Publisher: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Romance Languages
- Seller: The Gale Group, Inc.
- Print Length: 12 Pages
- Language: English