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This chapter examines how colonial entailments have been erased from French national history. It addresses the issue of occlusion in a particular site, France, and specifically with respect to its racial register, to ask how such a history can be rendered irretrievable, made available, and again displaced. Conceptualizing this irretrievability as aphasia—a condition in which words become irretrievable to speakers to the point that it becomes difficult to comprehend what is seen and spoken—is an effort to address when some “abnormality or failure” signals a breakdown in conduct and when the retreat to ignorance is not excuse enough. Colonial...

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