Aliko Songolo

Scholar, Francophone African and Caribbean Literature, US

Aliko Songolo is Professor Emeritus of French and of African Cultural Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was the Halverson-Bascom Professor of French (2009–15). He served as director of the African Studies Program, and as chair of his two departments, French & Italian and African Cultural Studies. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo and educated in the U.S., Songolo is known for his research and work on Francophone literature and cinema of Africa and the Caribbean. He has published a monograph on the poetry of Martinique writer and politician Aimé Césaire, and he co-edited two volumes of articles on African and Caribbean literature. He was associate editor of a five-volume Encyclopedia of Africa (Thomas Gale). His current research projects investigate postcoloniality in the wake of the négritude movement and Césaire’s presence on screen. In 2018, he received a Fulbright Specialist fellowship and spent three weeks at IMERA (Aix-Marseille University) and three weeks at Université Gaston Berger de Saint-Louis (Senegal) to work on his research project “Migration of African-American Writers to Paris and Encounter with African and Caribbean Writers (1930-1960).” He was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes académiques by France.

Aimé Césaire, "Une voix pour l'histoire" by Euzhan Palcy

Aimé Césaire on Screen

During his residency, Songolo aimed to work on Aimé Césaire on Screen, a research project on Aimé Césaire, the celebrated poet, playwright, and essayist from Martinique, who became the subject of no fewer than a dozen feature-length films about him and about and around his work. At Camargo, Aliko Songolo focused on the cinematic representations and transformations of Cahier d’un retour au pays natal, the foundational text of the Négritude movement and a major text of Francophone studies. The project aimed to offer a critical reading of these films that range from documentary to fiction to docudrama in their generic specificity.

Aliko Songolo was in residence at the Camargo Foundation in 2019, as part of the Core Program.