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 thoughts 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), as well as 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 reclaim their cultural and historic identities that the colonial context had negated or “exoticized”. It was then simultaneously a movement, a network and a forum, 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 can no longer be compared to that which they enjoyed during the independence period of the former colonies.

This file aims to place the historic, political and intellectual heritage that the journal received into perspective by establishing 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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Chief Curator

Sarah Frioux-Salgas, in charge of the archives and documentation of collections in the library of the musée du quai Branly