Does colonialism merely belong to the past? Recent French examples show that half a century after decolonisation the colonial past is still informing – and sometimes haunting – public (and private) debates on immigration, ‘French-ness’ and the very nature of republicanism. Colonialism and its aftermath are ideal terrains to understand France now, examine its relationship with other glogal powers, and analyse some past and present racial and ethnic inequalities at the heart of French society.
We will explore the relationship between imperialism and culture and will focus on a wide selection of materials ranging from colonial iconography, architecture, music, novels, popular culture, essays and feature films.
The first part of the module will concentrate on the colonial era (1880-1960) and assess the impact of French colonial discourses and counter-discourses on imagination (or more specifically on what is referred to as 'l'imaginaire' in French). The second part will evaluate the use of the colonial past in contemporary culture.
André Malraux, La Voie royale (1930)
Julien Duvivier, Pépé le Moko (1937) [feature film]
Claude Lévi-Strauss, Race et Histoire (1950)
Jean-Noël Pancrazi , La Montagne (2012)
Kamel Daoud, Meursault, contre-enquête (2013)
Bertrand Tavernier, Coup de torchon (1982) [feature film]
50% - Assessed work (one essay of between 2,000 and 2,500 words in length; OR one essay of between 1,000 and 1,250 words AND one commentary of between 1,000 to 1,250 words)
50% - Formal examination