The French Encounter with Africans

The French Encounter with Africans

White Response to Blacks, 1530-1880. Foreword by James D. Le Sueur
William B. Cohen
Foreword by James D. Le Sueur
Distribution: World
Publication date: 9/4/2003
Format: paper 382 pages, 10 b&w photos, 1 index
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-21650-2
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“As French and American historians of France are revisiting the history of French racism today, William B. Cohen’s book is more important than ever. It has become a classic.” —Nancy L. Green

In this pioneering work, William B. Cohen traces the ways in which negative attitudes toward blacks became deeply embedded in French culture. Examining the forces that shaped these views, Cohen reveals the persistent inequality of French interactions with blacks in Africa, in the slave colonies of the West Indies, and in France itself. Now a classic, The French Encounter with Africans is essential reading for anyone engaged in current discussions of European relations with non-Europeans and with issues of racism, ethnicity, identity, colonialism, and empire.

Author Bio

William B. Cohen (1941–2002) was Professor and former Chair of the Department of History at Indiana University. His books include Rulers of Empire: The French Colonial Service in Africa.

James D. Le Sueur is Associate Professor of History at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and lives in Lincoln.

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Table of Contents


Foreword James D. LeSueur
1. The Impulse ot Inequality
2. The Establishment of Slave Societies
3. The Philosophes and Africa
4. Three Patterns of Interaction: West Indies, France, and Senegal
5. The Issue of Slavery
6. The Rise of Imperialism
7. The Nineteenth Century Confronts Slavery
8. Scientific Racism
9. The Lure of Empire