The Centre for the Study of Democracy and the Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture invites Silyane Larcher (CNRS/IRIS) for the second cycle of the seminar series “French Politics: A Neighbour’s ‘History of the Present’”, entitled “French Universalism vs. Alien Identities?”

Silyane Larcher's paper is titled: "On the Cunning of National Reason: French Postcolonial Dispute over Race, Gender and Equality".

A Neighbour's 'History of the Present' poster with Silyane Larcher

The notions of race and intersectionality, widely accepted in the Anglo-Saxon context, are still highly debated within French academia. Many academics think that using those notions in order to produce scientific works contributes to the invasion of French academia by the North American episteme – as a result of what Bourdieu used to call “a cunning of the imperial reason”.

This talk is based both on previous research about the history of French citizenship in the West Indian “old colonies” (Antilles) and on more current research about Afrofeminism in the “Hexagon” (the mainland European French territory). It intends to question the denial of race and intersectionality in order to rigorously analyse, in the long run, the specificity of the historical and social constructions of race and inequalities in France.

About the seminar series

“French Politics: A Neighbour’s ‘History of the Present’” is a monthly seminar series organised by the University of Westminster (Centre for the Study of Democracy & Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture), introducing the “crème de la crème” of French research in Social Sciences and Humanities.

This series is designed with the Foucauldian notion of “history of the present” in mind and will tackle some of the most pressing challenges of French politics and political theory today.
The series is divided into three cycles:

  • An authoritarian spiral in France?
  • French universalism vs. Alien identities?
  • Can France think of itself as postcolonial?

With kind support from the French Embassy in the UK - Higher Education Research and Innovation Department (in association with “The Borders of Identity” seminar series supported by the Funds d’Alembert 2019) and the Political Studies Association.


Fyvie Hall, 309 Regent Street, W1B 2HW, London

Contact for more information

Emmanuel Jouai
[email protected]