In her own words:

Nathalie Montlouis





My name is Nathalie Montlouis.  I am from Martinique, a French Caribbean island. I grew up in a rather Afro-centred family who has always encouraged me to voice my opinion and think critically Indeed, I am deeply concerned by female representation in my country and the “decolonolisation of the imagination” within an African Diasporic context. I am also concerned by all types of violence done to women from “domestic” to “symbolic” violence. Growing up, I was very much affected by the colourist atmosphere present on the island where a woman with a lighter skin and wavy hair was considered more beautiful than one with a dark-complexion and “kinky” hair.  I believe that this definition of the beautiful is a direct consequence of the colonial experience. If nowadays physical violence done to non-white people is highly censured, the internalised violence passed on by years of colonial abuse is recognised by neither the victims nor those responsible for it.

I am working closely with empowering organisations such as the Images of Black women film festival, Black History Walks or Zil’Oka, an Afro Caribbean dance group and cultural association. I am the editor for the forthcoming book “Fanm se Chaten, nonm se fouyapen dou: Gender stereotypes within people of the African Diaspora” (Cambridge Scholar Publishing). I am currently organising a talk for Black History Walks on: “Symbolic violence and the Images of Black Women” that is to take place in on the 28th of June. In this talk I emphasise the importance of the content sharing websites in fighting the symbolic violence done to black women.  I am also working on a conference called “Ri yo avan yo riw: what a black woman ought to be in the 21st century” for March 2013. This conference will deal with the identification of the “post-memories” affecting women of African descent and their challenges to enter the “norm”.

I have completed my undergraduate studies in Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, however, it is at the Université des Antilles et de la Guyane (UAG) in Martinique then at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, that I was really able to translate my interest for gender, identity and culture into an academic form. I have now a PhD in cultural studies focusing on gender construction within counter-cultural communities.

I love to laugh and dance!

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