Foreign Languages & Literatures ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 11-13-2017


In this thesis, I analyze Lucie Cousturier’s two major works, Des Inconnus chez eux (1920) and Mes Inconnus chez moi (1925) in which she navigates the discourses of imperialism, viewed as masculine, and of femininity. Through strategies of intimacy, Cousturier establishes her authority as a female travel writer. In her first work, Cousturier sets up an intimate relationship with the tirailleurs sénégalais by teaching them French and becoming a mother-figure to them. At the same time, Cousturier plays a role in France’s colonial agenda by teaching the soldiers French. In her second work, she establishes intimacy by adopting the local culture, staying in the quartier indigène, adopting non-European clothing and mainly traveling alone. Still, she has a part in France’s colonial agenda as she advocates for European ideals in West Africa. Cousturier’s works demonstrate how female travel writers dealt with the boundaries set up for women as they entered into the colonial sphere.


Lucie Cousturier, West Africa, travel writing, tirailleurs sénégalais, women writers, twentieth century

Document Type




Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Committee Member (Chair)

Stephen Bishop

Second Committee Member

Pamela Cheek

Third Committee Member

Marina Peters-Newell