POMEPS Studies 52 – Race Politics and Colonial Legacies: France, Africa and the Middle East

In February 2020 – the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic – the Project on Middle East Political Science held a preliminary meeting at Columbia University in New York to explore the origins of the Africa-Middle East divides that treat North Africa as part of the Middle East and neglect states such as Sudan and Mauritania. Columbia was an appropriate place to begin such a dialogue. Two decades ago, when two of us (Aidi and Mampilly) were graduate students at Columbia, the Institute of African Studies was in serious crisis. The Ugandan political theorist Mahmood Mamdani arrived and launched an initiative to decolonize the study of Africa to counter Hegel’s partition of Africa by transcending the Saharan and red Sea divides,  and by underscoring Africa’s links to Arabia, Asia and the New World. To that end, we co-organized a second conference on racial formations in Africa and the Middle East looking at race-making across these two regions comparatively, including the border zones often left out of both African and Middle Eastern Studies: the Sudans, Amazigh-speaking areas in the Sahel, Arabic speaking areas on the Swahili coast and Zanzibar. This workshop represents the third in our series of transregional studies across the Africa-Middle East divide.

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Hisham Aidi, Marc Lynch and Zachariah Mampilly

France in Africa

Racializing Arabic: Colonial Education Policies and the Linguistic Issue in Contemporary Mauritania

Baba Adou, University of Florida

Lamine Senghor, Anti-Imperialism, and Racial Solidarity in the Interwar French Metropole

Oumar Ba, Cornell University

Politique des races: The Racialization of Lebanese Syrian Migrants in French West Africa

Dahlia El Zein, University of Pennsylvania

Black Racial Politics and the Racialist Populist Backlash during Tunisia’s Democratic Transition

Houda Mzioudet, University of Toronto

Franco-African Postcolonial Diplomatic Relations: A Very Odd Arrangement

Amy Niang, Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) 

On Postcolonial Alliances: The Case of the Parisian Noirabie Challenged by Slavery in Libya

Kenza Talmat, l’Universite Libre de Bruxelles and Universite Paris Nanterre 

Connecting the Two Sudans: Mobile Histories of Faith, Cotton, and Colonialism

Madina Thiam, New York University


Africa in France

Is There a French Sociology of Race?

Solène Brun, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire sur les Enjeux Sociaux (IRIS);  Claire Cosquer, Université de Lausanne, in Switzerland 

Fragmented Solidarity: Asian Anti-Racist Politics in France and the United States after the Covid-19 Pandemic

Ya-Han Chuang, Sciences Po

Celebrating the Memory of African American Historical Figures in France: Politics of Respectability or Universalist Appropriation?

Leonard Cortana, New York University

Who Is Still Liberal? Islamophobia and Anti-Racism in Authoritarian Times

Hamza Esmili, KU Leuven

Between Generations in the North African Jewish and Muslim Textiles Industry in Paris

Samuel Sami Everett, Universities of Aix-Marseille, Cambridge and Southampton University

Everyday Gendered Racism: Injunctions to Assimilate in the Lives of Veiled Muslim Women in France and Switzerland

Sélima Kebaïli, University of Lausanne; Eléonore Lépinard, University of Lausanne

Refusing Disavowal and Discovery: Notes on Narrative Epistemic Blackness as Method(ology)

Olivia Umurerwa Rutazibwa, London School of Economics and Political Science

Football’s Commandments: On Sport, Race, and (Post)Coloniality

Paul A. Silverstein, Reed College

“Anti-White Racism” and “Anti-France Hatred:” Prosecution of Rap Music and the Paradox of Racist Use of Anti-Racist Legislation in France (2003–2019)

Emmanuelle Carinos Vasquez, Centre de recherches sociologiques et politiques de Paris (CRESPPA)