After a long marginalization in French history and culture, colonial slavery became a reference to the women, children and men who identified with those who had been enslaved in the French colonies. Since the 2001 Taubira Law which recognized slave trade and slavery as a “crime against humanity,” progress has been made in the fields of education, research and culture. Yet, it is fair to ask in which ways the struggle for recognition has been emptied of its radical promise of bringing back the idea of social justice. And to wonder where and how memories are revived to escape their instrumentalization.
Françoise Vergès is a writer and social theorist, holder of the Chair Global South(s) at the Collège d'études mondiales in Paris, and former president of the Comité pour la Mémoire et l’Histoire de l’Esclavage (France). Vergès has written on vernacular practices of memories, on slavery and the ambiguities of French abolitionism, French republican colonialism, French postcolionality, and postcolonial museography.
Institute of French Studies Colloquium