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Silyane Larcher

Associate Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies and Black Studies

Research Interests: 

  • Afrofeminism
  • Race, Gender and Citizenship in the French Atlantic (with primary interest in France and the post-slavery Caribbean, from 19th century to contemporary period)
  • Black Feminist Epistemology
  • Global Blackness and the Legacies of Western Colonialism
  • Political Theory of Anti-colonialism
  • Historical Sociology


Originally from Martinique, Silyane Larcher is a political theorist and a social scientist. She received her MA in philosophy (with major in political philosophy) from the Paris-1 Panthéon-Sorbonne University and her PhD in Political Studies from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris. Before arriving at Northwestern, from 2015 to 2023 she was a tenured Research Scholar in Political Science at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris. She has notably initiated and co-organized the first international conference on Black Feminisms in a French (post)imperial context gathering in March 2020 – just before the pandemic – about 60 African and Afrodescendant scholars specializing in gender studies at the Campus Condorcet, in Aubervilliers. Silyane Larcher is also the co-founder of Marronnages. Les questions raciales au crible des sciences sociales, the first francophone academic journal (launched in 2021) exclusively dedicated to the study of race, racism, and ethnicity in the social sciences with a global perspective. She serves on the editorial board of French History at Oxford University Press.

Combining the tools of political theory, ethnography, historical sociology, and gender studies, Silyane Larcher’ scholarship examines how colonialism, liberalism and race inform social and political hierarchies in the French Atlantic context, with a focus on the French Caribbean and Black women’s experience in postcolonial France. She studies more specifically how tensions between inclusion and exclusion reveal racialized and gendered norms of citizenship and social bonding in an officially colour-blind Republic, from the legal status of the former enslaved in the post-emancipation context to Black French women's struggles against inequality, patriarchy, and racism in contemporary France. She is currently working on a book exploring the social and historical conditions of Afrofeminism, a European Black and diasporic feminism, in Paris suburbs. Her next research project is an intellectual history of antiracism from below and through the prism of gender, in postcolonial France. 

Silyane Larcher was selected a fellow at Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African and African American Research (2021-2022). Professor Larcher previously taught intellectual history, political science, and postcolonial studies at the Université des Antilles-Guyane in Martinique, at the Institute of French Studies at NYU and at Vassar and Wesleyan Program in Paris.

Selected Publications:

  • Books

 Larcher, S. Antiracismes. Une histoire conceptuelle par le bas. Paris: Seuil (under contract).

Larcher, S. (forthcoming). Afroféministes. Luttes féministes noires d’émancipation en France postcoloniale. Paris: Seuil.

Germain, F., Larcher, S. (2018). Black French Women and the Struggle for Equality, 1848-2016. Lincoln: The University of Nebraska Press. (An updated French translation, enriched with 6 original articles, is forthcoming at Seuil press by Fall 2024 under the title: Marianne est aussi noireLuttes occultées pour l’égalité.)

Larcher, S. (2014). L’Autre citoyen. L’idéal républicain et les Antilles après l’esclavage. Paris: Armand Colin. (Paperback edition in October 2022 at Point press)

  • Peer-reviewed Articles

Larcher, S. (2023). « Positionnalités de chercheur·es minoritaires. Connaître les mondes sociaux, entre rapports de pouvoir et mythe de l’objectivité », Raisons Politiques. Revue de théorie politique, 89 (1), 5-24. 

Larcher, S. (2017). « “Nos vies sont politiques !” L’afroféminisme en France ou la riposte des petites-filles de l’Empire », Participations. Revue de sciences sociales sur la démocratie et la citoyenneté,18 (3): 97-127. 

Larcher, S. (2016). “Troubles dans la ‘race’. De quelques fractures et points aveugles de l’antiracisme contemporain français”, L’Homme et la Société, 198 (4): 213-229. 

Larcher, S. (2015). “Neither Color-Blind Nor Color-Conscious. Challenging Civic Universalism in the French Caribbean, 18th and 19th centuries”. Palimpsest. A Journal on Women, Gender and the Black International, 4 (2): 188-209. 

Larcher, S. (2014). “‘Tu seras une personne, mon enfant !’ La citoyenneté pour les ‘nouveaux libres’ des Antilles françaises après 1848”, Sociologie, 5 (2): 157-170.

  • Book chapters

Larcher, S. (forthcoming). “The anthropological boundaries of the political body. Suffrage and exclusion of the ex-slaves and women from the community of French citizens (19th-20th)” in The Cambridge History of Democracy, ed. by Christopher Meckstroth and Samuel Moyn, Vol. 3, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Larcher, S. (2023). ““Our lives are political!” Afrofeminism in contemporary France”, in Routledge Handbook of Francophone Africa, ed. By Tony Chafer & Margaret Majumdar, London: Routledge. 

Larcher, S. (2023). « ‘Ne suis-je pas ta sœur ?’ Femmes noires et récit féministe » in Colonisations. Notre histoire, ed, By Arthur Asseraf, Guillaume Blanc, Yala Kisukidi, Mélanie Lamotte and Pierre Singaravelou, Paris: Seuil. 

Larcher, S. (2021). « Commémorer le passé ou décoloniser l’oubli ? Antilles françaises, 1848-2021 », in Les Mondes de l’esclavage. Une histoire comparée, ed. By Paulin Ismard, Bénédetta Rossi, and Cécile Vidal. Paris: Seuil.

Larcher, S., Murard, J-N., and Sawyer, S. (2021). “La République multiple. Une histoire globale et transnationale” in D’ici et d’ailleurs. Histoires globales de la France contemporaine, ed. By Quentin Deluermoz. Paris: La Découverte.

  • Essays

Larcher, S. (2023). “The Colonial Chains of Neo-Liberalism. How Marine Le Pen Was Able to Win the Elections in the French Caribbean”, Transition. The Magazine of Africa and the Diaspora, (134): 24-40. 

Larcher, S. (November, 2020).On the Cunning of National Reason: Genealogy of the Racial Problem and French Universalism”, Philosophy-World-Democracy.

  • Review Essay

Larcher, S. (April, 2017). “Après l’Occident.” Review of the book Politiques de l’inimitié by Achille Mbembé (2016), Paris: La Découverte. La Vie des Idées.