This course is an introduction to the history of French colonization, from the establishment of the colonies until their independence. The objective is not to review the detail of the conquests, from colonization and then decolonization: the objective is above all to understand the important phases of this history, which are still today at the center of lively debates, and to explore the relationships between France and francophone African countries – Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa.
We will focus on the mentalities as well as the social and cultural aspects of the French colonization. How was colonization justified? What was the French colonizer’s perception of the societies and people colonized, and conversely what was the colonized peoples’ understanding of their colonizers? How do we explain the violence that came with the process of decolonization? These contemporary debates will also be explored in the course.