French Empire | Newberry

French Empire

Colonialism, Decolonization, and Their Legacies
Monday, February 22, 2016

9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Led by Suzanne Kaufman, Loyola University
Full, wait list available
Newberry Teachers' Consortium

Historians used to think of French colonialism as something that happened “over there”—beyond the borders of the hexagon and distinct from the territory of the nation. Now historians are reconceptualizing French empire as a single field comprising the metropole and its colonies. Drawing on the insights of the new colonial history, this seminar provides an overview of France’s overseas colonial empire in Africa and Asia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Topics will include the economic and political reasons for empire, the influence of empire on everyday life in France, and the impacts of empire on colonial subjects. In particular, we will look at the French concept of “civilization” (la mission civilisatrice) as a tool of empire building and imperial control; the role of colonial violence in the maintenance of empire and in the resistance movements against French imperialism; and the importance of race, religion, and gender in the historical analysis of how empire worked and how colonial practices reworked metropole and colonies alike. We will discuss several seminal essays and primary sources focusing on French empire in North Africa and West Africa. We will also reflect on how this scholarship helps us understand the current tensions and problems in today’s multicultural France, especially in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Cost and Registration Information 

Newberry Teachers’ Consortium members may register for this seminar through their designated membership contact as space permits. Non-member educators may register for this seminar by purchasing an individual membership at the time of registration. Registration for all NTC seminars opens Wednesday, September 2, 2015. For more information about NTC membership, please contact Charlotte Ross, Teacher Programs Manager, at

The seminar will be followed by a catered lunch. Registrants should RSVP for lunch to assist Teacher Programs staff in reducing waste.

A link to the assigned pre-readings for this seminar will be distributed to participants via email.

If you believe you are registered for this seminar but have not received an email confirmation or reminder, please contact Teacher Programs staff.

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