This essay analyzes the pitfalls of the adoption of postcolonial studies by French colonial historians and traces their roots to a deep-seated identity investment in the colonial empire, especially Algeria. It examines French colonial historiography's elision of racism as a willed attempt at maintaining the wholeness of imperial identity (after the loss of empire) rather than a pathological condition of aphasia. The essay argues that French imperial identity is nurtured by education and state intervention in the production and reproduction of political culture.

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