The discipline of “Postcolonial studies” has emerged predominantly within English literature departments over the past two
decades. This article aims at scrutinizing the relevance of postcolonial theory and criticism to francophone literature. The
beginning of the paper is devoted to the exploration of the historical perspectives necessary for an understanding of current
postcolonial issues, outlining a complex situation and some clear distinctions between English and French modes of colonization.
Then it explores the role of languages in postcolonial debates, mainly the rivalry between English-speaking countries and
Francophonie, between French and American theory, which brings about a fundamental diversity in the critical approaches of
these literatures. Beyond theoretical quarrels and in spite of the asymmetrical positions of English-speaking and Francophone
postcolonial literatures, we would argue that both are engaged in the same intellectual pursuits. The so-called “minor” literatures
are just about to reach literary canonization. About half a century after the Independences, the obsolescence of the colonial
reference should be taken into consideration even though nostalgia is a powerful driving force in literary creation. Nevertheless,
postcolonial studies and francophone studies should keep their differences and homogenizing critical approaches could turn
out to be noxious.