Présence africaine

The black condition: a genealogy of discussion

Couverture de Présence africaine

Gradhiva journal N°10

The literary and cultural journal, "Présence Africaine", heir of pan-Africanism and negritude before the Second World War, was founded in 1947 by the Senegalese intellectual Alioune Diop. An inaugural text, “Niam n’goura or the raison d’être of Présence Africaine” clearly explained the journal's objectives:

  • To publish African studies on black culture and civilization
  • To publish “African texts”
  • To consider “works of art or thought concerning the black world”

In the first issues, Alioune Diop surrounded himself with very diverse figures: ethnologists, anthropologists (Marcel Griaule, George Balandier, Théodore Monod, Michel Leiris, Paul Rivet), writers and philosophers (Aimé Césaire, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Jean-Paul Sartre, André Gide, Albert Camus, Richard Wright, Emmanuel Mounier), but also gallery owners and art critics (Charles Ratton, William Fagg). In 1949, Alioune Diop created a publishing house of the same name.

"Présence Africaine" was a dissemination tool that allowed black intellectuals and writers to claim the cultural and historic identities that the colonial context had negated or “exoticized”. It then became a movement, a network and a forum allowing the expression of different ideas linked to the “black worlds”. The journal, the bookstore and the publishing house still exist today but their importance and influence cannot be compared to that which they enjoyed during the Independence period.

This feature aims to put the historic, political, and intellectual heritage that the journal received into perspective. The goal is to establish a geneology of the discussions and texts on “the black worlds” and “the black conditions”.


240 pages, 20 x 27cm format

80 illustrations

EAN 978 2 35744 018 0

20 €

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Head Curator

Sarah Frioux-Salgas, in charge of the archives and documentation of the collections for the musée du quai Branly's media library.