Martin Thomas
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'Thinking imperially’?
Popular imperialism in France
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Imperialism at the provincial level was confined to those ports and cities with valued commercial connections to colonial territories. Popular imperialism ranges from analyses of colonial exhibitions, museums and the proliferation of colonial or colonial-inspired art and literature to the proliferation of colonial themes in popular cinema and French advertising. Carrie Tarr has noted the reluctance of French cinema to address its colonial heritage. Framed in the context of postcolonial French culture, her comments resonate with the inter-war period. Staging colonial exhibitions in inter-war France combined big business, government propaganda, popular racism and high farce. The 1922 exhibition was primarily designed to impress French industrialists, traders and the wider public with the empire's untapped potential. Even the 1931 Vincennes colonial exhibition was more colonial 'theme park' than empire education forum.

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The French empire between the wars

Imperialism, Politics and Society


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