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Myriam Cottias et Céline Flory
Traduction de Lysa Hochroth
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1Esclavages & Post~esclavages / Slaveries & Post~Slaveries n°6 raises the question of the conditions and effectiveness of the transnationality of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Through the nature of its demands, the movement is articulated with, among others, the issue of reparations and its consequences in the contemporary world1. Here we consider the actuality of the “end of slavery”, as well as the continuity of economic and social inequalitie, racialized and/or hierarchical relationships inherited from this system, racism, whether systemic or not.

  • 2 “Reparations would mean a revolution of the American consciousness” (Coates, Ta-Nehisi, June 2014, (...)

2As Audrey Célestine, Nicolas Martin‑Breteau and Charlotte Recoquillon explain since first founded in 2013, the Black Lives Matter movement has been reactivated during each of the anti-racist mobilizations; in Ferguson (2014‑2015), Charlottesville (2017) and more recently, again, after the murder of George Floyd (May 25, 2020). Reparations claims resurfaced in a radical way by operating a synthesis of what would constitute remedies for historical injustices and contemporary, notably police, violence. Justice (both in the sense of ethics and judicial reform) and equal treatment were aligned with the global demand for slavery reparations and public policies in favor of African-Americans. The BLM movement thus shifted the focus and opened very concrete discussions that did not aim at financial indemnification, as has been the case, for example, with the CARICOM demands since September 2013. A new anti-racism founded on reparations would mean “a revolution of the American consciousness”, to cite the author and journalist Ta‑Nehisi Coates who advocates acceptance of history and all its consequences by all members of the US society2.

  • 3 Diagne, Souleymane Bachir, 2022. De langue à langue : l’hospitalité de la traduction, Paris, Albin (...)

3Audrey Célestine, Nicolas Martin‑Breteau, and Charlotte Recoquillon propose to explore these porous and mobile boundaries, involving global scale and national situations in a “revolution of consciousness” seen as underpinning the Black Lives Matter movement. They write: “This dossier seeks (…) to understand in a more precise manner the intensity of the mobilizations, the levels of engagement and, more generally, the structure of the space in which the anti-racist cause takes place in different countries.” Beyond the perspectives of this new anti-racism, an underlying question might indeed be inferred: how does BLM affirm the principles of humanity inscribed in a universal – understood as a “world public space where debate and exchange, despite misunderstandings and untranslatability” – that can be shared by one and all ?3 This is the discussion we are opening in this thematic issue.

4From various angles, the following authors contribute to so doing in these pages. The anthropologist, Dominique Somda, in “Archives et Terrains,” returns to a key consideration in slavery and post-slavery research since the 1980s: that of silence. She investigates it in the South of Madagascar by researching its vestiges in terms used to designate social statuses of the past. Charlotte Recoquillon, for her part, reviews a videographic experience entitled “Stop Killing Us: Returning Back to a Video Restitution Project.” This film on police violence against African‑American youth is also a reflection on the practices of disseminating knowledge about the anti‑racist movement and issues of Blackness. Issue n°6 concludes with an interview between Jean‑François Boclé and Anna Seiderer entitled “The Dead Skin of Writing.” The work and words of the artist resonate especially well with the preceding texts when, in describing the context of his creations, he declares: “I absorb History like I approach the memory of erasures before spitting them out, I let myself be affected by their passage like the cannibal I am (laughing), just like I let myself be traversed by violence.”

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1 See “Réparations & Esclavages,” n°5. Available on :

2 “Reparations would mean a revolution of the American consciousness” (Coates, Ta-Nehisi, June 2014, “The Case for Reparations,” The Atlantic. Available on :

3 Diagne, Souleymane Bachir, 2022. De langue à langue : l’hospitalité de la traduction, Paris, Albin Michel, Collection « Bibliothèque Albin Michel idées ».

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Myriam Cottias et Céline Flory, « Editorial »Esclavages & Post-esclavages [En ligne], 6 | 2022, mis en ligne le 19 mai 2022, consulté le 26 septembre 2023. URL : ; DOI :

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Myriam Cottias


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Céline Flory

CNRS (Mondes Américains, CIRESC), France

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