Vojtěch Šarše: Research & CV

The Image of Cultural Decline in the Anticolonial Francophone Sub-Saharan Novel: The processes of subjectivation, objectivation, reification and identity emptiness

Research Area 2: Norms and transgressions

Contact: vojtech.sarse@cefres.cz (from September, 1st)

The novels written in the French language by Sub-Saharan authors and published in the 1950s unconditionally by French publishers is a literature of paradoxes. It is considered to have been an instrument of anti-colonial revolution and the expression of a renaissance of African culture (systematically repressed during the colonial era). But at the same time these novels describe the degradation of African identity, the cultural alienation of main characters and delineate the unbalanced relations between colonizer and colonized, criticizing in this way the intention and the determination of colonizer to devastate the individual existences of colonized nations.

For my Ph.D. thesis I have chosen ten novels (written between 1953 and 1960). The protagonist, the young African man, is pushed by the given circumstances (life in a French colony, an imposed French educational system, assimilation, etc.) at the crossroads of two cultures: an inferior Sub-Saharan culture and a superior French culture. Either they themselves criticise the colonial system by means of their revolt, for example, or they are influenced by European manners, thus refusing African roots.

My work is based on fiction (I am not working on the given sociological or psychological standards); the main characters are fictional. But at the same time the novels are very clearly rooted in historical, political and cultural facts connected to the real world – that is to say, to the contexts of the authors (it is clear where the fictional story is taking place and in which period, the landmarks usually being easily decipherable). As it is undeniable that the African nations went through the process of assimilation, the story of the chosen novels is focused on identity research and a lack of cultural points of reference. For this reason, I will in my work describe a new term which we have invented to thematize such interior uprooting: identity emptiness. This state of mind and of consciousness is provoked by the artificial need to be a part of the dominant culture (imposed by the French colonizer).



2015–: PhD, Department of Romance literature, Faculty of Arts Charles University (Prague)

2013–2015: Masters, French Philology, Faculty of Arts Charles University (Prague)

2010 – 2013: BA, French Philology, Faculty of Arts Charles University (Prague)

Selected Publications and Conference Papers

  • Čtyři africké romány jako exkurz do antikoloniálních frankofonních literatur. Cizí jazyky, 2017, 60 (5), 38-45. ISSN 1210-0811.
  • La (dis)simulation des langues d’origine africane. In: ČERNÍKOVÁ, Veronika. Echo des etudes romanes. České Budějovice: Ústav romanistiky, 2017, s. 315-324. ISBN 0-000-00000-0. ISSN 1801-0865.
  • La manifestation (non)collective des sentiments dans l’Afrique romanesque. Acta Universitatis Carolinae. Philologica, 2018, 6 (3), 205-215. ISSN 0567-8269.
  • Hledání subsaharských identit v románové tvorbě. Antologie subsaharského frankofonního románu. Filozofická Fakulta, Univerzita Karlova. ediční řada Varia, 2018, 221 s. ISBN 978-80-7308-892-7.
  • Rozpravy o identitách ve frankofonním prostoru subsaharské Afriky. Soubor rozhovorů a esejů. Filozofická Fakulta, Univerzita Karlova. ediční řada Varia, 2018, 129 s. ISBN 978-80-7308-894-1.

Research Grants

  • 10/2016–12/2018: Charles University Grant Agency, No. 579916: “The analytic research of selected African francophone novels, focused on the question of identity – from the origin (1935) up to the present day”

Work Experience

  • 01/10/2018 –: Charles University, Department of Foreign Languages (teacher)
  • 01/10/2015 –: Charles University, Department of Romance studies (Teacher – Lecturer)
  • 01/03/2015–31/12/2018: Charles University, Research Office (officer)