Races on Display

Races on Display

French Representations of Colonized Peoples, 1886-1940
Dana S. Hale
Distribution: World
Publication date: 3/4/2008
Format: paper 232 pages, 20 b&w photos, 1 figures
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-21899-5
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While European commerce in race was substantial, the colonial trade in ideas of race was highly profitable as well. Looking at official propaganda and commercial representations in France during the Third Republic, this book explores the way the French increased the value of their racial identity at home at the expense of their colonized brothers and sisters. The French did not create the identity-effacing stereotypes of Africans, Arabs, and Indochinese. Instead they refined or remolded these images, and as they did so they redefined and remolded their images of themselves. Focusing on world’s fairs, colonial expositions, and mundane manufacturers’ trademarks, Races on Display shows not only the prevalence of racial stereotypes, but also how complex these representations prove to be.

Author Bio

Dana S. Hale received her Ph.D. in Comparative History from Brandeis University and taught history at Howard University from 1998 to 2005. She is author of several essays.


". . . very clear and straight-forward. The introduction is brief and refreshingly

unencumbered with theoretical jargon; indeed, the work as a whole is free of the commonly cumbersome and overly complex intellectual gymnastics of many postcolonial studies of racial images. In these opening pages, Hale lays out her argument and gives the reader a clear blueprint for the text. Throughout the work, Hale blends historiography into the narrative flow in an almost seamless manner." —Michael Vann, Sacramento State University,
H-French-Colonial, H-Net , April 2009

". . . a worthy addition to the literature on colonial representation and French colonial history." —Karin Speedy, Macquarie University, Sydney,
New Zealand Jrnl of French Studies , Vol.30.1 2009

"Races on Display is a rich work. If its conclusions are not as novel as its wealth of detail, it will nonetheless appeal to an interdisciplinary audience and provoke the sort of discussion that will make it a useful text for classroom use." —
Journal of Modern History , Vol. 82.3, September 2010

"[This] book offers a broad view, in both time and space, surveying almost the entire life of the Third Republic as well as the major and widely dispersed areas of France's 'new' colonial empire. This allows the author to make important observations about how views of empire and race changed over time and to compare images of different 'races'." —
European History Quarterly

"Dana Hale's book provides an overview of the French case from the 1880s until the First World War, focusing on exhibitions (particularly in Paris in 1900, 1931 and 1937 and in Marseille in 1922) and on trade-marks used for advertising." —Journal Imperial and Commonwealth History

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Table of Contents


Part 1. On the Path to Civilization, 1886—1913
1. Overseas Empire and Race during the Third Republic
2. Sub-Saharan Africans: "Uncivilized Types"
3. North Africans: Mysterious Peoples
4. Indochinese: Gentle Subjects

Part 2. Children of France, 1914—1940
Introduction to Part 2
5. Sub-Saharan Africans: La Force Noire
6. North Africans: Fils Aîné
7. Indochinese: Fils Doué
8. La Mère-Patrie and Her Colonial Children: France on Display

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