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It is misguided to imagine that French researchers and French universities are unaware of postcolonial studies. In reality, forms close to this school of thought emerged very early in the French university context, but they were obliged to take other academic traditions into account. The...
If the Republic and Empire are now difficult to view as mutually exclusive categories in contemporary France, few scholars have sought to address the conventions of knowledge production that have made France's own history of a racialized polity so rarely a subject for the French academic elite....
France is most cosmopolitan where it is least central. If the City of Lights is a cosmopolis, it is far less so in Saint-Germain-des-Près or the Marais than in its disenfranchised banlieues (suburbs) and many an (ex) colonies on which its language was and continues to be imposed. Here an...
In the rest of the world, the "postcolonial turn" in the social sciences and humanities took place nearly a quarter century ago. Since then, the method or style of critique associated with that movement has influenced myriad political, epistemological, institutional, and disciplinary debates in...
This essay considers recent critiques of postcolonial theory and proposes democracy as a theme likely to prove crucial for the future of the field. It argues that a properly postcolonial turn toward democracy demands a new philosophical, political, and ethical valuation of the concept of naïveté.
This essay analyzes the pitfalls of the adoption of postcolonial studies by French colonial historians and traces their roots to a deep-seated identity investment in the colonial empire, especially Algeria. It examines French colonial historiography's elision of racism as a willed attempt at...
A critique of Jean-François Bayart's polemics against postcolonial studies, which, it is argued, works through unsubstantiated generalizations rather than detailed analysis of the key texts in the field.
What is at issue in the three essays is the reception of postcolonial studies in France, denoting for Jean-François Bayart an "academic carnival," revealing for Ann Laura Stoler France's "colonial aphasia," and representing for Achille Mbembe, the way out of its "imperial winter." While all...
Six years after banning pupils from wearing a hijab in public high schools, in July 2010, French deputies passed a law that forbids women from wearing the "integral veil" (or niqab , an outfit hiding the entire face except the eyes) in public spaces. This article examines why such a repressive...
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