In the past several years, colonial studies have reemerged as an important focus for the social sciences on both sides of the Atlantic. Yet there has been little exchange or communication between scholars in France and the United States. Moreover, the apparent commonality of the subject matter often masks important differences in approach, as well as differences in the political and scholarly agendas that support such research. The editors of this special issue of French Politics, Culture and Society believe that the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Georges Balandier’s classic article, “La situation coloniale, approche théorique” (Cahiers Internationaux de Sociologie 11 : 44-79), presents a valuable opportunity to promote Franco-American dialogue on the colonial question. This special issue publishes some of the works presented at a conference organized in April 2001 by the Institute of French Studies of New York University and entitled “1951-2001: Transatlantic Perspectives on the Colonial Situation.”
Transatlantic Perspectives on the Colonial Situation
Articles Dossier Forum Review Essays BooK Reviews Index of Books Reviewed
Articles Review Essays Book Reviews Index of Books Reviewed Film Review
An American scholar is often struck by the absence of race in France as a category of analysis or the absence of discussions of race in its historical or sociological dimensions. After all, “race” on this side of the Atlantic, for reasons having to do with the peculiar history of the United States, has long been a focus of discussion. The notion of race has shaped scholarly analysis for decades, in history, sociology, and political science. Race also constitutes a category regularly employed by the state, in the census, in electoral districting, and in affirmative action. In France, on the contrary, race hardly seems acknowledged, in spite of both scholarly and governmental preoccupation with racism and immigration.