Professor of Cultural and Postcolonial Studies

Françoise Vergès received her PhD in Political Theory from Berkeley University in 1995. Monsters and Revolutionaries. Colonial Family Romance and Métissage (Mark Joseph Rozance Memorial Award) was published by Duke University Press in 1999.

Her academic and professional life has been linked with activism and artistic projects. Her work is trans-disciplinary looking at the fabrication of consent and dissent using decolonial psychoanalysis, visual, sonic and literary elements, and feminist, postcolonial, anticolonial and radical theories.

After she obtained her high school diploma in Algiers, she became engaged in the country’s cultural activities. Moving to France, she joined antiracist and feminist movements and was active as well in the political organizations of migrants from former French colonies. She worked as a journalist for a French feminist magazine and as an editor collecting testimonies of women under military dictatorships, wars or authoritarian regimes for des femmes editions (1979-1983). While in the United States, she joined fact-finding trips on the violation of women’s rights in Salvador during the civil war and in Panama following the US 1989 coup; in Berkeley, she co-organized "Building Bridges: Race, Class, and Gender. Feminism Across the Disciplines," the first trans-disciplinary feminist conference for PhD students (1989 to 1994). She also worked for the Emma Goldman’s papers, the San Francisco Film Festival and was active in anti-imperialist movements.

She was president of the French National Committee for the Memories and History of Slavery (2008-2012), was a consultant for the Memorial of the Abolition of Slavery, conceived by Krzysztof Wodiczko and Julian Bonder (opening in 2012), is on the board of the Lilian Thuram Foundation against Racism and has been participating in the Ateliers de la pensée in Dakar, organized by Achille Mbembé and Felwine Sarr.

In 1996, she worked with artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien on “Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Mask »; for the Paris Triennal curated by Okwui Enwezor (2012) she curated “The Slave in Le Louvre. An Invisible Humanity” and was project advisor for the Platform 3 “Créolité and Creolization”; she has written films on Aimé Césaire (2013) and Maryse Condé (2011). Between 2004 and 2010, she worked on the scientific and cultural program of Maison des civilisations et de l’unité réunionnaise, the project of a museum in Reunion Island for which she proposed “a museum without objects,” but the project was killed in 2010. At the Collège d’études mondiales (FMSH, Paris), she created the Chair Global South(s) (2014-2018). In 2015, she cofounded the association “Decolonize the Arts,” and its free monthly university (2016-2019), the space opened by artist Kader Attia in Paris. She regularly curates workshops with artists, activists and scholars of color that end with a public performance.

RESEARCH

Françoise Vergès is completing a manuscript on the decolonization of the museum and on climate change, waste, gender and race.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS

  • A Feminist Theory of Violence, 2022
  • De la violence coloniale dans l’espace public, 2021
  • A Decolonial Feminism, 2021
  • The Wombs of Women. Race, Capitalism, Feminism, 2020
  • Resolutely Black. Conversations with Aimé Césaire, 2020.

francoise.verges@theafricainstitute.org