The Colonial Legacy in France

9780253026255: Hardback
Release Date: 1st May 2017

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 486

Indiana University Press

The Colonial Legacy in France

Fracture, Rupture, and Apartheid

Hardback / £52.00

Debates about the legacy of colonialism in France are not new, but they have taken on new urgency in the wake of recent terrorist attacks. Responding to acts of religious and racial violence in 2005, 2010, and 2015 and beyond, the essays in this volume pit French ideals against government-sponsored revisionist decrees that have exacerbated tensions, complicated the process of establishing and recording national memory, and triggered divisive debates on what it means to identify as French. As they document the checkered legacy of French colonialism, the contributors raise questions about France and the contemporary role of Islam, the banlieues, immigration, race, history, pedagogy, and the future of the Republic. This innovative volume reconsiders the cultural, economic, political, and social realities facing global French citizens today and includes contributions by Achille Mbembe, Benjamin Stora, Françoise Vergès, Alec Hargreaves, Elsa Dorlin, and Alain Mabanckou, among others.

Introduction: A Decade of Postcolonial Crisis: Fracture, Rupture and Apartheid (2005-2015) / Nicolas Bancel, Pascal Blanchard, and Dominic Thomas

Part I. Colonial Fracture / 2005

1.1 The Emergence of the Colonial

1. The Republican Origins of the Colonial Fracture / Nicolas Bancel and Pascal Blanchard
2. When a (War) Memory Hides another (Colonial) / Benjamin Stora
3. A Difficult History: A Brief History of the Colonial and the Postcolonial Situation / Nicolas Bancel
4. Reducing the Republic’s Native to the Body / Nacira Guénif-Souilamas
5. Colonization and Immigration: "Blind Spots" in the History Classroom / Sandrine Lemaire
6. Memory Wars: A Study of the Intersection between History and Media / Pascal Blanchard and Isabelle Veyrat-Masson

1.2 The Return of the Colonial

7. The Enemy Within: The Construction of the "Arab" in the Media / Thomas Deltombe and Mathieu Rigouste
8. Islam and the Republic: A Long, Uneasy History / Anna Bozzo
9. The Republic, Colonization. And Beyond… / Michel Wieviorka
10. Colonial Natives and Indigents: from the Colonial "Civilizing Mission" to Humanitarian Action / Rony Brauman
11. The Banlieues as a Colonial Theater, or the Colonial Fracture in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods / Didier Lapeyronnie
12. The Pitfalls of Colonial Memory / Nicolas Bancel and Pascal Blanchard
13. Overseas France: A Vestige of the Republican Colonial Utopia? / Françoise Vergès

Part II. Postcolonial Ruptures / 2010

2.1 Debating the Colonial Legacy

14. Rethinking Politics in the French Overseas Departments / Jacky Dahomay
15. "Race," Ethnicization, and Discrimination: Is History Repeating Itself or Is this a Postcolonial Peculiarity? / Patrick Simon
16. From the Empire to the Republic: "French Islam" / Valérie Amiraux
17. Immigration: From Métèques to Foreigners / Yvan Gastaut
18. Inequality Between Humans: From "Race Wars" to "Cultural Hierarchy / Pascal Blanchard

2.2 Postcolonial and Critical Gazes

19. The Postcolonial Challenges of Teaching History: Between History and Memory / Benoît Falaize
20. Postcolonial Studies in French Academia / Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch
21. From Slavery to the Postcolonial / Patrick Weil
22. The Great Strip Show: Feminism, Nationalism, and the Burqa in France / Elsa Dorlin
23. From the Red Peril to the Green Peril: The New Enemy Within / Renaud Dély

Part III. Apartheid and the War of Identities in France / 2015

3.1 The end of the "French model"?

24. From the Dakar Speech to the Taubira Affair / Ariane Chebel d’Appollonia 
25. Could Islamophobia be the Start of a New Identy-Based Bond in France? / Rachid Benzine
26. The Black Question and the Exhibit B Controversy / Alain Mabanckou and Dominic Thomas 
27. Cultural Orientalization or Political Occidentalism? / Nicolas Lebourg 
28. Faces of the National Front (1972-2015) / Sylvain Crépon
29. Infiltration of Liquid Populism / Raphaël Liogier 

3.2 Rejet de l’autre, radicalisation identitaire, impensé colonial

30. Nanoracism and the Force of Emptiness / Achille Mbembe
31. Antiracism: A Failed Fight or the End of an Era ? / Emmanuel Debono
32. Closing Borders Against Fear: Europe’s Response to the 2015 "Migration Crisis" / Claire Rodier
33. Toward a Real History of French Colonialism / Alain Ruscio
34. Is a Colonial History Museum Politically Impossible? / Nicolas Bancel and Pascal Blanchard 
35. After Charlie: A New Era or Unfinished Business?/ Alec Hargreaves


Nicolas Bancel is Professor at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and codirector of the ACHAC Research Group.

Pascal Blanchard is a historian and researcher at the Laboratoire Communication et Politique (Paris, France, CNRS), codirector of the ACHAC Research Group, and a documentary filmmaker.

Dominic Thomas is Madeleine L. Letessier Professor and Chair of the Department of French and Francophone Studies at UCLA.

Alexis Pernsteiner is a freelance editor and translator: Her translations include Colonial Culture in France since the Revolution (IUP).

"Highly recommended."


"An intelligent, rich, carefully constructed, and thoughtful work that will prove all the more important at this time in history when the debate on colonialism occupies center stage, often at the service of political ends. This book is first and foremost an attempt to rethink the ways in which the French colonial project became integral to 19th century Republican discourse and the shape of today's reality."


"This book brings together a vast array of scholars around the question of colonial fracture. Ignoring this past has only served to further exacerbate societal tensions. As the contributors underscore, facing this past head on will assist France in the process of understanding society today."


"The contributors to this book raise the following questions: Is there such a thing as a colonial facture? Can France overcome this identity crisis? What we have is a society that remains uncertain when it comes to its future, precisely because it has been ubale to reckon with its past."