Echoes of Caliban’s Curse: An Exploration of the Legacy of the Négritude Movement


Chando was a CSS and French double major. He is currently embarking on a Watson fellowship that will see him exploring alternatives to immigrant detention on four different continents

What motivated you to work on/write this thesis?
The African history class I took while studying abroad in Paris. My professor was very understanding of my hesitant French and my classmates were super engaged. Also, Negritude is very much the marriage of my interests: African politics, French language, and poetry. I walked out of the class after my professor first mentioned the term knowing I was going to write my thesis on it.

How was the research for your thesis?
Tedious, to say the least. The minutiae of thesis research was something I was not
prepared for. I am so grateful for the guidance of my thesis advisors, Professors Twagira and Weisberg, who taught me how to be a disciplined researcher.

Was Wesleyan helpful? The librarian?
It really was! I got a renewed appreciation for the work that the librarians do. Many of my sources were in French and so were unavailable in Olin. I learnt a lot about interlibrary loan and the other facilities that are at our disposal at Wesleyan. Kendall Hobbs was particularly helpful and he helped me jump many of the research hurdles that theses present.

Do you think the administration should do something to help with the research?
More can always be done. I would like to see more thesis research opportunities such as the Davenport available to all majors. I think Wesleyan has a world class faculty and an enthusiastic student body, who knows what heights we can reach in undergraduate research with the right opportunities made available to us.

What is your advice to students who are thinking of doing a thesis on the
My advice to students who are thinking about theses that have to do with the continent is to hold fast to the passion that leads you to believe you want to write it. It is this passion that will see you through all the frustrations that arise from writing theses on Africa. It might be hard to find an advisor, or previous research on your topic, but I would say to not give up. Value your input enough to see it through the end.

Do you have a long interest in this subject or was it just for your thesis?

I think I will always be interested in African intellectual history and the political manifestations of that. I don’t know if that necessarily means that I will continue to study Negritude alone. We’ll see. I’m looking forward to taking things one step at a time.