You are here

Fiction and Economics: Goorgoorlou, the Neoliberal Homo Senegalensis

Date and Time: 
Thursday, October 6, 2016. 05:00 PM - 06:30 PM
Meeting Location: 
Pigott Hall, Room 216
Meeting Description: 
Please join the French Culture Workshop for our first event of this academic year.
 
We will be welcoming back our very own Fatoumata Seck, for a talk entitled "Fiction and Economics: Goorgoorlou, the Neoliberal Homo Senegalensis" (see abstract below). As always, refreshments and snacks will be served. 
 
Abstract:
Goorgoorlou is the eponymous character of Alphonse Mendy’s serialized comic strip that emerged in Senegal, in the midst of neoliberal reforms. As with millions of Senegalese people, Goorgoorlou lost his job because of the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), therefore resorting to odd jobs to make ends meet. These odd jobs and other resourceful solutions are Goor’s response to economic instability; it is an economy of rupture, based on the informal sector. The social costs of the programs, brought upon by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were palpable in the social fabric of Senegalese society. They gave birth to works of fiction and art that imparted the severity of the hardship. On the ground, everyday Senegalese people had to devise novel practices to cope with their new economic environment. As a result, journalist and caricaturist Alphonse Mendy, nom de plume, TTFONS, started Goorgoorlou’s adventures in a weekly satirical newspaper. Senegalese people adopted Goorgoorlou and turned him into a national hero in the heyday of nation building. This paper analyzes the figure of Goorgoorlou as national hero and economic archetype of the informal economy, therefore highlighting the concomitance of the emergence of this character with that of the informal economy in Senegalese society. In doing so, I compare Goorgoorlou with Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe who is said to represents the rise of individualism in 18th century Europe, often labeled Homo Oeconomicus by neoclassical economists.
 
Fatoumata Seck is an assistant professor of French and Francophone Literature at the College of Staten Island CUNY. Her research focuses on culture and economics in French-speaking Africa, as well as diaspora studies, cultural anthropology, Caribbean studies, and postcolonial theory.
 
Dr. Seck holds a PhD from Stanford University and is at work on a project about the influence of postcolonial neoliberal reforms on the Senegalese social fabric though the examination of both cultural production and cultural practice. Her work analyzes ways in which fictional narratives inform notions of value, debt, money and capital.

Workshops Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30