Geopolitics of the colonial prison island: the case of Poulo-Condor (Con Dao)

Fuggle, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-9688-9593, 2021. Geopolitics of the colonial prison island: the case of Poulo-Condor (Con Dao). Island Studies Journal. ISSN 1715-2593

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This article takes up the specific example of Poulo Condor (the Con Dao archipelago in Vietnam) as colonial prison island in order to examine this persistence of colonial island imaginaries built around the imagined project of the prison island well into the middle of the 20th century. Such imaginaries appear to run counter to dominant political discourse of the period along with ongoing media campaigns calling for the end to penal transportation and overseas penal colonies. This article contends that closer attention needs to be paid to the disjuncts and gaps between the official discourse of the French colonial authorities located in France and the enactment of such discourse in the colonies themselves. The central focus of the article is a close analysis of correspondence between colonial officials stationed in French Indochina from 1925 onwards; these documents will be contextualised with reference to the longer histories of both the Con Dao archipelago and France’s use of prison islands. An understanding of Poulo Condor as a complex extralegal space will be framed by Ann Laura Stoler’s concept of the ‘colony’ as it develops Giorgio Agamben’s notion of the ‘state of exception’ and Michel Foucault’s concept of ‘security’. What emerges is an ongoing colonial pathology which continues to fixate on the prison island as a key colonial stake even after such a stake has become increasing untenable.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Island Studies Journal
Creators: Fuggle, S.
Publisher: University of Prince Edward Island
Date: 2021
ISSN: 1715-2593
Rights: © Island Studies Journal, 2021. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution: No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported Licence.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 18 Dec 2020 12:11
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:05

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