Until the close of the nineteenth century, French colonial theory was based on the idea of assimilation, which gave France the responsibility for “civilizing” its colonies by absorbing them administratively and culturally. By the turn of the twentieth century, this idea had given way to the theory of association, which held that France’s new empire could be better served by a more flexible policy in which the colonized become partners with France in the colonial project. Raymond F. Betts examines the pivotal shift in colonial theory within the métropole, the debate that it generated, and its intellectual origins.
A landmark book in the field of French colonial theory, Assimilation and Association in French Colonial Theory, 1890–1914, has served as the central point of reference for every major colonial historian during the four decades since its original publication in 1961. Available in paperback for the first time, with a new preface by the author, this edition will interest all students of colonialism and introduce many younger scholars to what remains the best and most original book in the field.
Raymond F. Betts is a professor of history emeritus at the University of Kentucky and an expert in modern European imperialism. His many books include Decolonization and A History of Popular Culture: More of Everything, Faster, and Brighter.
“[An] elegant . . . neatly turned out study.”—The Economist
"A scholarly and valuable book; [Betts] has done a service to all students of the colonial period."—Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science