A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in by Alice Conklin PDF

By Alice Conklin

This ebook addresses a significant yet usually neglected query within the heritage of recent France and glossy colonialism: How did the 3rd Republic, very popular for its professed democratic values, permit itself to be seduced through the insidious and chronic attraction of a “civilizing” ideology with specific racist overtones? by means of targeting a selected staff of colonial officers in a selected setting―the governors basic of French West Africa from 1895 to 1930―the writer argues that the perfect of a distinct civilizing project had a decisive impression on colonial policymaking and at the evolution of recent French republicanism generally.
French rules of civilization―simultaneously republican, racist, and modern―encouraged the governors normal within the 1890’s to assault such “feudal” African associations as aristocratic rule and slavery in ways in which referred again to France’s personal event of innovative swap. sarcastically, neighborhood directors within the 1920’s additionally invoked those related rules to justify such reactionary rules because the reintroduction of compelled exertions, arguing that coercion, which inculcated a piece ethic within the “lazy” African, legitimized his lack of freedom. through continually invoking the guidelines of “civilization,” colonial coverage makers in Dakar and Paris controlled to vague the elemental contradictions among “the rights of guy” assured in a republican democracy and the forcible acquisition of an empire that violates these rights.
In probing the “republican” measurement of French colonization in West Africa, this publication additionally sheds new mild at the evolution of the 3rd Republic among 1895 and 1930. one of many author’s crucial arguments is that the belief of a civilized challenge underwent dramatic adjustments, as a result of ideological, political, and financial adjustments taking place concurrently in France and its colonies. for instance, revolts in West Africa in addition to a extra conservative weather within the metropole after global struggle I produced within the governors common a brand new admire for “feudal” chiefs, whom the French as soon as despised yet now reinstated as a way of keep an eye on. This discovery of an African “tradition” in flip bolstered a reassertion of conventional values in France because the 3rd Republic struggled to recapture the area it had “lost” at Verdun.

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A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895-1930 by Alice Conklin


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