Gradhiva n°10

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 objectives of this journal:

  • To publish Africanist 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 tool of dissemination that allowed black intellectuals and writers to claim their cultural and historic identities that the colonial context negated or “exoticized”. It was then a movement, a network, and a forum all at once, allowing different trends of ideas linked to the “black worlds” to be expressed. The journal, the bookstore, and the publishing house still exist today but their importance and influence are incomparable to that of the period of independence among former colonies.

This feature aims to put into perspective the historic, political, and intellectual heritage that the journal received. The stakes of this undertaking: a genealogy 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 collections in the library of the musée du quai Branly