The Black Populations of France


The Black Populations of France

Histories from Metropole to Colony

Edited by Sylvain Pattieu, Emmanuelle Sibeud, and Tyler Stovall

236 pages
5 charts, index


February 2022


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February 2022


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February 2022


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February 2022


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About the Book

The Black Populations of France is a study of Black peoples and their history in France and the French Empire during the modern era, from the eighteenth century to the present. The contributors to this collection explore three main axes. The first addresses circulations—the ways Black populations have moved through the spaces of metropolitan France and the empire—and focuses on the actors themselves and the margins of maneuver available to them, particularly as soldiers, sailors, immigrants, or political militants. The second considers legacies and the ways the past has informed the present, addressing themes such as the memory of slavery, the histories of Black women and gender, and the historical influence of African Americans on Blacks in France. The final axis considers racial policy and the ways the state has shaped racial discourses through the interactions between state policies and ideas of race developed by individuals, organizations, and communities. The Black Populations of France makes an important contribution to both modern French history and the history of the global Black diaspora. By putting these histories in dialogue with each other, it underscores the central place of France in world history.

Author Bio

Sylvain Pattieu is a lecturer in history at University of Paris 8. He is the author of several books written and published in French. Emmanuelle Sibeud is a professor of contemporary history at the University of Paris 8. She is the author of several books written and published in French. Tyler Stovall (1954–2021) was the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Fordham University. He was the author of a number of books, including White Freedom: The Racial History of an Idea.


“A needed expansion and corrective to the history of France, whose long-standing and diverse Black populations remain insufficiently explored. The originality of this book also resides in its geographical reach, as it extends beyond the metropole to a vast overseas territorial divide. . . . At the same time [it elucidates] the temporal fluidity of race and Blackness in these geographies, which contradict and complicate France’s cherished ideals of universalism and citizenship.”—Trica Keaton, coeditor of Black France / France Noire: The History and Politics of Blackness

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Black Populations of France: An Historical Mosaic
            Sylvain Pattieu, Emmanuelle Sibeud, Tyler Stovall
Colonial France in Africa
1. The Inopportune Citizenship of the Inhabitants of Sainte-Marie de Madagascar (1907-1949): An Imperial Contradiction?
      Emmanuelle Sibeud,
2.  Colonial Misappropriations of Trans-Saharan Legacies: Abid al-Bukhari and
Tirailleurs Sénégalais in Imperial and Colonial Morocco 
      Sarah Zimmerman
3. Returning from France after World War II: African Soldiers and the Reshaping of Colonial and Racial Categories in French West Africa
      Ruth Ginio
Blacks in Metropolitan France
4. Black Families in France (18th-19th Centuries): Some Cases
      Pierre H. Boulle
5. By Land or by Sea: “Marins Indigènes” and Maritime Economies of Race and Labor
      Minayo Nasiali
6. “A Woman Like Any Other:” The Intimacy of Dislocation in Early Twentieth Century Paris and Rufisque
      Jennifer Boittin
7. BUMIDOM (Bureau pour le développement des migrations dans les départements d’Outre-Mer), 1963-1982:  Organizing Overseas Migrations to the Metropole, Actions and Contradictions
      Sylvain Pattieu
The Politics of Race in France Today
8. Contemporary French Caribbean Politics
      Audrey Célestine
9.   Racially Imprinted Bodies: The Black Feminine Press in Contemporary France
      Sarah Fila-Bakabadio
10  France in Noir and Black:  Stereotypes and the Politics of the Recognition of Black Populations
      Franck F. Ekué
11. Solidarity or Difference?  African Americans and the Making of Black France
      Tyler Stovall
Conclusion: Towards a History of Black France, and a Black History of France

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