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Emmanuel Mounier, Director of the Catholic review Esprit, was a pioneering participant in criticising French colonial activities. The
 

Summary: Emmanuel Mounier, Director of the Catholic review Esprit, was a
pioneering participant in criticising French colonial activities. The
debates of the 1940s were strongly framed by France's `mission to
civilise' its colonies, which was supported by universal humanist
aspirations but was also criticised as masking policies of exploitation and
oppression. The resulting tensions are well demonstrated by Emmanuel
Mounier's book L'Éveil de l'Afrique noire, published after a visit to
several areas of French West Africa in the spring of 1947, at a crucial
moment in France's relations with its colonies. This article focuses on the
components published in Esprit, Combat, and Présence africaine, which
outlined the positive roles that France could play in the region, but
warned against the dangers if opportunities were missed, and recognised
the particular difficulties confronting the rising African elites. A closer
examination of the discursive strategies he deployed shows that
Mounier's frame of reference remained within the paternalist paradigm of
republican humanism, and that he saw France's role as a duty to guide
the development of Africa. However, in the myths and metaphors he
adopted, a more radical vision can be identified, which expressed an
underlying anti-colonialism.
Keywords: Africa, black, civilisation, colonies, France, humanism,

  

Source: Anderson, Jim - School of Mathematics, University of Southampton

 

Collections: Mathematics