Shorelines: In Memory of Édouard Glissant


  • John E. Drabinski Amherst College



Glissant, Caribbean, Americas, memory, creolization


Édouard Glissant passed away on 4 February 2011 at the age of 82. A few words of memory.

As a person and thinker, Glissant lived through, then reflected with meditative patience and profundity upon some of the most critical years in the black Atlantic: the aesthetics and politics of anti-colonial struggle, the civil rights movement in the United States, postcolonial cultural anxiety and explosion, the vicissitudes of an emerging cultural globalism, and all of the accompanying intellectual movements from surrealism to negritude to existentialism to those varieties of high modernism and postmodernism for which Glissant himself is such a generative, founding resource. His life bears witness to those years, events, and movements with a poet’s word and a philosopher’s eye. And so Glissant, like all important thinkers, leaves for us an enormous gift – in his case, a new, enigmatic vocabulary of and for the Americas. 

Author Biography

John E. Drabinski, Amherst College

John E. Drabinski teaches in the Department of Black Studies at Amherst College and is the co-editor (with Scott Davidson) of the Journal of French and Francophone Philosophy. He is the author of Sensibility and Singularity (SUNY, 2001), Godard Between Identity and Difference (Continuum, 2008), and Levinas and the Postcolonial (Edinburgh, 2011), as well as numerous articles on contemporary European philosophy and Africana theory. His current research is focused on Afro-Caribbean critical theory, postcolonialism, and the intersection of Europe and the Americas in theorizing memory, history, and subjectivity.