The Imperial Republic: France and the World, 1870-1960

Michael Goebel

HI114 | Spring | 6 ECTS

Whereas French history was once written as the inexorable rise of republicanism, more recent scholarship has complicated this narrative by pointing to the republic’s fraught relationship with colonial subjecthood throughout France'€™s empire. This seminar explores the central tension between republicanism and empire from the Third Republic through to the second wave of decolonization. In an initial survey, students will gain an overview of the legal patchwork through which the empire was stitched together over time, ranging from the legal fiction of a French Algeria as an integral part of the hexagon to straightforward colonies such as Cochinchina and League of Nations mandates such as Cameroon and Syria. The remainder of the seminar will then deal with the multiple tensions that arose between this patchwork and the centralist myth of citizenship, on which French republicanism put such a premium. In the process, students will also learn about the ways in which anticolonial movements related to French republicanism.