Tag Archives | Decolonisation

Challenging the myth of colonial to post-colonial: The case of the Organisation Commune des Régions Sahariennes

An exploration of the Organisation Commune des Régions Sahariennes (OCRS), introduced by the French government in the 1950s, as a case study of Eurafrica in practice, provides an original entry to the complex dynamics of the end of the French empire. Through an examination of the paths considered but not taken by the colonial elites, Kelsey Suggitt, a PhD student at the University of Portsmouth and a member of the Francophone Africa cluster, challenges the myth of the inevitability of decolonisation.   In early September I made the 300 mile or so trek up to the University of Hull for the Association for Modern and Contemporary France’s (ASMCF) Annual Conference. The theme of the conference was ‘Myth Making’, something which resonates within my PhD project. For the past year, since I started working towards my PhD, I have been re-examining how decolonisation was imagined by French colonial elites during the late colonial period in North and West Africa. One myth which I have been exploring is the idea that decolonisation was either a peaceful transition, from colonies to nation-states, as in the case of French West Africa, or a violent conflict like the Algerian War. I also question myths that […]

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cfp: Re-imagining ends of empire

The study of the ends of empires and decolonisation has generally focused on the passage from empire to nation-states. Whether this process was violent or relatively peaceful, it has generally been presented as historically inevitable. This is particularly the case with France’s African empire which is often studied in terms of its attempt and failure to hold on at all costs before ultimately giving up (Algeria) or its ‘successful’ negotiation of a smooth transfer of power to a Westernised African elite (West Africa). As Todd Shepard underlined in 2006 in The Invention of Decolonisation, by 1959-60, decolonisation in France was presented as part of the “tide of history” with little explanation or discussion of what this actually meant. He underlines that this historical determinism has largely been reproduced in academic literature. At the same time, an emerging trend has been to re-examine established accounts of the passage of empires to nation-states (Cooper, 2014; Hansen and Jonsson, 2014; Deighton, 2006). With an increase in studies of global and transnational history, scholars are increasingly questioning the inevitability of how (post) empire was reimagined by the late colonial state. This study day at the University of Portsmouth on March 2nd 2016 aims to […]

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