This book explores national attitudes to remembering colonialism in Britain and France. By comparing these two former colonial powers, the author tells two distinct stories about coming to terms with the legacies of colonialism, the role of silence and the breaking thereof. Examining memory through the stories of people who incited public conversation on colonialism: activists; politicians; journalists; and professional historians, this book argues that these actors mobilised the colonial past to make sense of national identity, race and belonging in the present. In focusing on memory as an ongoing, politicised public debate, the book examines the afterlife of colonial history as an element of political and social discourse that depends on actors’ goals and priorities. A thought-provoking and powerful read that explores the divisive legacies of colonialism through oral history, this book will appeal to those researching imperialism, collective memory and cultural identity.
Section I France
Chapter 1 The Case for Silence
Chapter 2 A Silence that Never Was? Appropriating the Algerian War
Chapter 3 Devoir de mémoire on the Road to 2005: The Emergence of Memory Activism
Chapter 4 Memory as Republican Critique: Race and Anti-racism after 2005
Chapter 5 Memory as the Marker of Political Affiliation
Section II Britain
Chapter 6 Postcolonial Silence through Britain’s Long Decolonisation
Chapter 7 The Tale of the Imperial Balance Sheet
Chapter 8 Breaking the Chains? The Memory of Slavery in Britain’s Public Spaces
Chapter 9 Piercing through Nostalgia
Itay Lotem is a Lecturer in French Studies at the University of Westminster, UK. He has published in academic journals like Modern and Contemporary France,French Politics, Culture and Society and French History in addition to appearances in the media.
Collana: Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies