Tony Chafer’s new article Decolonization in French West Africa has been published this week in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History. Abstract: Studies of French decolonization in West Africa have traditionally treated it as a planned and reasonably smooth process. It has therefore been portrayed as a successful decolonization that stands in stark contrast to the much more conflictual decolonization processes in Indochina (1947–1954) and Algeria (1954–1962), which were marked by prolonged wars. This approach has tended to give pride of place to the role of individuals—members of France’s governing elites and African political leaders—who are portrayed as having successfully managed the transition to independence. While the importance of such individuals cannot be denied, it is important to recognize that French decolonization in West Africa was a contingent process. Shaped by the particular nature of French colonial rule in the region, the new international context after 1945, events on the ground, and—on the French side—the perceived need to maintain empire at all costs in order to restore French grandeur after the humiliation of defeat and occupation in the Second World War, it was a process that involved a multiplicity of French and African actors who were not in control […]
Tag Archives | France
This week’s third monologue resulting from the December 2016 Race after the Postracial conference features Maboula Soumahoro, associate professor in the English department at the Université François-Rabelais, Tours, France. In conversation with Olivia Rutazibwa, Ms Soumahoro recounts her upbringing and her personal journey as a French woman of Ivorian decent, her experiences in school going and her academic career. In the US she studied and taught about black nationalism, arriving at key questions of academic legitimacy and objectivity. Turning her insights back on French society, she reflects on how her own sense of national identity has developed, and how anti-racist discourses and myths existing in public memory have obscured the real everyday racist bias and discrimination that persists. Click on the link for Maboula Soumahoro’s full monologue. For more on these and other topics, check out @o_rutazibwa and #maboulasoumahoro on Twitter.com.