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This article aims to uncover the role played by La Reconnaissance africaine : organe d’enseignement religieux et d’études historiques, one of the first periodicals printed in French West Africa, in reconfiguring the colonial literary space in the 1930’s. The article first presents a close reading of the intersecting trajectories of the cleric Francis Aupiais, a cultural activist who used his tenure in Dahomey under the auspices of the Society of African Missions to promote and disseminate African art and culture, and the Beninese writer Paul Hazoumé, then fleshes out the conditions of production of the press in Dahomey under colonial rule. It offered first-generation African writers writing in the French language a means of broadcasting their stories and ideas. The last part highlights some defining features of the periodical – its structural organization and mode of functioning – so as to acknowledge at last its major role in African literary history: disregarded for too long, it however largely contributed to granting legitimacy to autochthonous practices of ethnography by Africans themselves.

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