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France’s Colonial Legacies

Memory, Identity and Narrative

France’s Colonial Legacies contributes to the debates taking place in France about the place of empire in the contemporary life of the nation, debates that have been underway since the 1990s and now reach across public life and society, with manifestations in the French parliament, media, and universities. Fiona Barclay brings together distinguished scholars from a wide range of disciplines, including history, sociology, politics, literature, and film, to examine the extent to which the French colonial empire and its collapse have contributed to and shaped contemporary France. 

350 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2013

French and Francophone Studies

History: European History

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"The eleven articles in France’s Colonial Legacies contain numerous productive dialogues with scholarship from related disciplines, reflecting the turns towards trauma and memory studies. Michael Rothberg, Cathy Caruth, Dominick LaCapra, and Judith Butler are just a few of the critics cited who give this volume its varied and cross-disciplinary feel. . . . An important contribution to the field of memory studies, investigating the reverberations that France’s colonial legacy continue to have in the nation’s present."

George MacLeod, University of Pennsylvania | Contemporary French Civilization

“In a variety of spheres—political, legal, cultural, and historiographic—debates regarding memories of empire have, over the past decade, acquired a genuine urgency in France and in the wider French-speaking world. This volume provides a useful set of essays that explore the legacies of colonialism in a wide range of locations and in a number of very difference arenas. The contributors include established scholars and some of the most important early-career researchers active in this field. The collection as whole is a significant contribution to new work in Francophone postcolonial studies.”

Charles Forsdick, University of Liverpool

Table of Contents

Series Editor’s Preface



List of figures

Notes on contributors

Introduction:     The Postcolonial Nation

                                Fiona Barclay

Part One: Narrative Gaps

1              Amnesia about Anglophone Africa: France’s Rhodesian Mindset, its Manifestation and Legacies

                Joanna Warson

2              From ‘Écrivains coloniaux’ to Écrivains de ‘langue française’: Strata of Un/acknowledged Memories

                Gabrielle Parker

Part Two: The Algerian Way, Fifty Years On

3              Conflicting Memories: Modernisation, Colonialism and the Algerian War Appelés in Cinq colones á la une

                Iain Mossman

4              Derrida’s Virtual Space of Spectrality: Cinematic Haunting and the Law in Herbiet’s Mon Colonel

                Fiona Barclay

5              ‘Le devoir de mémoire’: the Poetics and Politics of Cultural Memory in Assia Djebar’s Le Blanc de l’Algérie

                Jenny Mullen

6              (Un)packing the Suitcases: Postcolonial Memory and Iconography

                William Kidd

Part Three: The Transnational Family

7              Interrogating the Transnational Family: Memory, Identity and Cultural Bilingualism in Traoré’s Sous la clarté de la lune

                Zéllie Asava

8              Continuity and Discontinuity in the Family: Looking Beyond the Post-Colonial in Claudel’s Il y a longtempsque je t’aime

                Fiona Handyside

Part Four: Contemporary Commemorations

9              Anti-racism, Republicanism and the Sarkozy Years: SOS Racisme and the Mouvement des Indigénes de la République

                Thomas Martin

10           Playing out the Postcolonial: Football and Commemoration

                Cathal Kilcline

11           Crime and Penitence in Slave Commemoration: From Political Controversy to the Politics of Performance

                Nicola Frith


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