H-France Review Vol. 18 (July 2018), No. 152
In March 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron launched a drive to re-energize la Francophonie, the global cultural ensemble defined by the use of the French language, and a much contested legacy of French colonial empire. The impact of his thirty-three proposals to develop a plurilingual and democratized version of the Francophone world remains to be seen, but his rhetorical efforts to de-connect la Francophonie from its colonial past are critically contextualized by this volume, which makes clear the enduring influence ofFrench empire on its former colonies after independence by exploring the varied and specific trajectories of individual economic activities.
Operating broadly at the intersection of business history and imperial history, the volume, the result of a 2012 conference, brings together a cast of mainly younger scholars around the institutional center of gravity of the Centre Roland Mousnier at the University of Paris IV , La Sorbonne, and under the intellectual leadership of Dominique Barjot, Jacques Frémeaux and the late Daniel Lefeuvre, a group of senior scholars marked by the historiographical influence of Jacques Marseille and anchored in the economic history of French Algeria. Divided into two sections, on energy and then on agricultural/industrial raw materials, the volume’s wealth of case studies will provide valuable empirical material to historians of North and Sub-Saharan Africa especially, but also to those working on South-East Asia and numerous other aspects of the French colonial situation and its aftermaths.