This essay positions Negritude thinker Suzanne Césaire (1915–66) as a cultural critic whose “writings of dissent” remain relevant both in the Caribbean of her birth and the Europe of her death. Although far-right politicians have argued for contemporary France's return to its white, Catholic (or secular humanist) roots, the historical reality is that French identity has never been uniform or stable. Wilks argues that, although Césaire's affirmation of specificity may seem contrary to French republican ideals, her writings suggest a means of addressing the cultural-political impasse in which early-twenty-first-century France finds itself. In tandem with the analysis of Césaire's essays, the essay examines French justice minister Christiane Taubira's published writings and legislative work as evidence of her related efforts to recast cultural specificity as a source of richness and vitality, the integration of which may very well determine the nation's future.

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