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Postcolonial Realms of MemorySites and Symbols in Modern France$
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Etienne Achille, Charles Forsdick, and Lydie Moudileno

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781789620665

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781789620665.001.0001

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Colonial Exhibitions

Colonial Exhibitions

(p.269) Colonial Exhibitions
Postcolonial Realms of Memory

Nicolas Bancel

Pascal Blanchard

, Andrea Lloyd
Liverpool University Press

This essay focuses on a specific aspect of colonial propaganda and on the dissemination of the ‘colonial idea’ in France, namely colonial exhibitions and their early manifestations, colonial pavilions in universal expositions. It offers a detailed analysis of France’s largest colonial exhibition, the 1931 Exposition Coloniale organized in Vincennes, through the exploration of the non-discursive, often playful mechanisms that allowed visitors to live a ‘total experience’ of the colonial empire, mobilizing all their senses and cognitive resources. The historiographic challenge to which we respond that of is determining whether these manifestations were only marginal, peripheral moments in French contemporary history or, as we suggest, they played a deciding role in bolstering support to the colonial ideal of ‘civilizing mission’ and contributed to transforming the national narrative and representations of the nation.

Keywords:   Colonization, Colonial exhibitions, Colonial expositions, Propaganda, French imaginary

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