Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Jeffrey D. Gonda


African Diaspora Studies, African migration, French History, Immigration, Post-colonial Studies

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities


“Beyond the Banlieue: French Postcolonial Migration & the Politics of a Sub-Saharan Identity” details and historicizes the interstitial area between French state acculturation policies and the lived experience of Afro-French residents from 1945-2018. The project uses oral histories from Black communities in Paris to reveal a rich legacy of sociopolitical, economic and cultural efforts to navigate and negotiate this divide. These narratives offer an alternative perspective to prevailing scholarly and popular discourses emphasizing decline, resentment, intractability and rebellion as the defining features of French race relations in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. This dissertation examines the attempts and attitudes of activists, entrepreneurs, artists, authors, teachers, youth and politicians to reclaim a largely untold history of the way that three generations of African migrants have contested the “invisibility” of race and the shortcomings of state policy to forge communities and multilayered identities in the postcolonial era. Interweaving the processes of migration and acculturation, this project mines the experiences of black diasporic populations in Paris over the past seventy years to reimagine the place and power of race in contemporary French history.


Open Access