RSVP: “Colonial Legacies and Racial Formations: France In Comparative Perspective” – Conference at École Normale Supérieure

June 8-9 2023

“Colonial Legacies and Racial Formations: France In Comparative Perspective”

Conference at École Normale Supérieure

Despite claims to an egalitarian colorblindness, French policy has long rested on accenting and institutionalizing ethnic, religious and racial difference, at the domestic and foreign policy levels. In recent years developments from Mali to Lebanon have revived interest in the effects of colonial policy in former French colonies. This conference will reflect on the following questions: How are former French colonies trying to undo institutional and discursive formations inherited from France? How does France’s colonial past inform current policies towards its minority populations, and shape debates around Islamophobia and ethnic statistics? How do American debates on “race” resonate in France? How do cultural producers in France address questions of empire and social exclusion?

This international conference will bring together scholars from around  the world to discuss racial formations and colonial legacies in France and former French colonies in a comparative perspective.

The conference will take place at:

Room R2-01

École Normale Supérieure

48 boulevard Jourdan

75014 Paris

Organized by Hisham Aidi, Marwan Mohammed, Marc Lynch and Zachariah Mampilly

(Program on African Social Research, Political Science of the Middle East, and École Normale Supérieure)

To RSVP, click HERE.


Colonial Legacies and Racial Formations:

France In Comparative Perspective 

(École normale supérieure, Paris June 8-9 2023)


Panel I: Race, Colonialism and French Foreign Policy

Thursday June 8, 10:30 -12:30

Madina Thiam, “La Venise Malienne: Making Mopti in the Colonial and Post-Colonial Eras”

Baba Adou, “French colonial education, language policies, and the racial issue in contemporary Mauritania.”

Dahlia El Zein, “Race and Colonialism in Kamel Mroneh’s Nahnu fi Ifriqiya (Us in Africa)”

Judith Scheele, “Show me the color of your France-á-fric.”


Panel II:  Is Islam A Race?

Thursday June 8, 1:30-3:30

Abdou Seck, “The way they think, racially, about black African Muslims.”

Eleonore Lépinard and Sélima Kebaïli, “Negotiating Submission: Hierarchies of race, religion and gender in the everyday of veiled Muslim women in France and Switzerland.”

Sami Everett, “Discourse and the everyday: race, anti-Semitism and North Africa on the post-colonial French metropolis”


Panel III: Sociology, International Relations, and Racism in France and America

Thursday June 8, 4:00-6:00

Amy Niang, “Franco-African Diplomatic Relations: An Odd Arrangement”

Olivia Rutazibwa, “Politics of Disavowal: Thinking West-European metropoles as postcolonial and postslavery societies”

Oumar Ba, “Lamine Senghor, Anti-Imperialism, and Racial Solidarity in the Interwar French Metropole”

Solène Brun, “The Sociology of Race is Not an American Importation”


Panel IV: Social Movements and (anti) Racism in Europe

Friday, June 9, 10:30-12:30

Mam-Fatou Niang, “Reformulations of Blackness in 21st Century France”

Audrey Celestine, “L’heure de nous-même a sonné:” Blackness and Cultural Politics in post-1946 Martinique.

Kenza Talmat, “On Post-Colonial Alliances: The Case of the Parisian “Noirabie” challenged by slavery in Libya”

Lumumba Kembele, “Youth Organizing from the Black Power Movement to the Movement for Black Lives”


Panel V: Islamophobia, Populism and Replacement Ideologies

Friday, June 9, 1:30-3:30

Hanane Karimi, “The Enlightenment of French Hegemony over Muslims”

Houda Mzioudet, “Invisible No More: the role of democratic transition in the emergence of a black Tunisian racial politics – and the racialist populist backlash after 2011”

Hamza Esmili, “Liberals and Conservatives in Contemporary French Islamophobia”

Marwan Mohammed, “On Replacement Ideologies“


Panel VI: Art, Sports & Struggle

Friday, June 9, 4:00-6:00

Leonard Cortana, “Celebrating the Memory of African American Activists in France: Politics of Respectability or Appropriation?”

Ya-Han Chuang, “Fragmented Solidarity: Asian anti-racist politics in France and the US”

Emmanuelle Carinos Vasquez, “Anti-white racism,” “anti-France hatred:” Prosecution of rap music and the inversion of anti-racist legislation in France (2003-2019)”

Paul Silverstein, “Football’s Commandments: On Sport, Race and (Post)Coloniality”