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Introduction

Globalizing the History of French Decolonization

Jessica Lynne Pearson

While the recent “transnational” and “global” turns in history have inspired new approaches to studying the French Revolution and the French Resistance, they have made a surprisingly minor impact on the study of French decolonization. Adopting a global or transnational lens, this special issue argues, can open up new possibilities for broadening our understanding of the collapse of France’s global empire in the mid-twentieth century as well as the reverberations of decolonization into the twenty-first.

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The French Empire Goes to San Francisco

The Founding of the United Nations and the Limits of Colonial Reform

Jessica Lynne Pearson

This article explores the French delegation’s approach to debates about colonial oversight and accountability that took place at the Conference on International Organization in San Francisco in 1945, where delegates from fifty nations gathered to draft the United Nations (UN) Charter. Drawing on documents from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the UN, and the American press, it argues that while French officials at home and in the empire were eagerly negotiating a new French Union that would put metropolitan France and the colonies on unprecedently equal footing, French delegates to the San Francisco conference were unwilling to take a stand for these reforms-in-progress. Ultimately, French delegates to the conference lacked confidence that the incipient French Union would stand up to international scrutiny as these delegates worked to establish new international standards for what constituted “self-government.”

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Eric Jennings, Hanna Diamond, Constance Pâris de Bollardière and Jessica Lynne Pearson

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Naomi J. Andrews, Simon Jackson, Jessica Wardhaugh, Shannon Fogg, Jessica Lynne Pearson, Elizabeth Campbell, Laura Levine Frader, Joshua Cole, Elizabeth A. Foster and Owen White

Silyane Larcher, L’Autre Citoyen: L’idéal républicain et les Antilles après l’esclavage (Paris: Armand Colin, 2014).

Elizabeth Heath, Wine, Sugar, and the Making of Modern France: Global Economic Crisis and the Racialization of French Citizenship, 1870–1910 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Rebecca Scales, Radio and the Politics of Sound in Interwar France, 1921–1939 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Claire Zalc, Dénaturalisés: Les retraits de nationalité sous Vichy (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2016).

Bertram M. Gordon, War Tourism: Second World War France from Defeat and Occupation to the Creation of Heritage (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2018).

Shannon L. Fogg, Stealing Home: Looting, Restitution, and Reconstructing Jewish Lives in France, 1942–1947 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).

Sarah Fishman, From Vichy to the Sexual Revolution: Gender and Family Life in Postwar France (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).

Frederick Cooper, Citizenship between Empire and Nation: Remaking France and French Africa, 1945–1960 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014).

Jessica Lynne Pearson, The Colonial Politics of Global Health: France and the United Nations in Postwar Africa (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018).

Darcie Fontaine, Decolonizing Christianity: Religion and the End of Empire in France and Algeria (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016).