© 2017

Perspectives on French Colonial Madagascar


Part of the Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies book series (IOWS)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Eric T. Jennings
    Pages 1-9
  3. Health, Power and Vulnerability

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 11-14
    2. Eric T. Jennings
      Pages 15-56
    3. Eric T. Jennings
      Pages 57-87
  4. The Great Island in Global Conflict, 1914–1945

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 89-93
    2. Eric T. Jennings
      Pages 95-130
    3. Eric T. Jennings
      Pages 131-159
  5. The Mystery of Malagasy Origins

  6. Back Matter
    Pages 229-258

About this book


This book is a vivid history of Madagascar from the pre-colonial era to decolonization, examining a set of French colonial projects and perceptions that revolve around issues of power, vulnerability, health, conflict, control and identity. It focuses on three lines of inquiry: the relationship between domination and health fears, the island’s role during the two world wars, and the mystery of Malagasy origins. The Madagascar that emerges is plural and fractured. It is the site of colonial dystopias, grand schemes gone awry, and diverse indigenous reactions. Bringing together deep archival research and recent scholarship, Jennings sheds light on the colonial project in Madagascar, and more broadly, on the ideas which underpin colonialism.


Malagasy people Madagascar people Madagascar history French conquest of Madagascar history of rabies in Africa Colonial Madagascar History of French colonialism in Africa History of tropical medicine colonial war memorials history of colonial medicine Pasteur Institute history history of colonial Madagascar

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of TorontoTorontoCanada

About the authors

Eric T. Jennings is Distinguished Professor of the History of France and the Francophonie at the University of Toronto, Canada. He is the author of several books on French colonial history, and has received a John Simon Guggenheim fellowship as well as grants from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Perspectives on French Colonial Madagascar
  • Authors Eric T. Jennings
  • Series Title Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies
  • Series Abbreviated Title Palgrave Series in Indian Ocean World Studies
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2017
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-59690-1
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-95563-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-55967-8
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XII, 258
  • Number of Illustrations 13 b/w illustrations, 8 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of France
    African History
    Cultural History
    Modern History
    Imperialism and Colonialism
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“The most interesting aspect of the book is the way it shows how individuals can turn out to play decisive parts in both the making of colonial politics and its application. … Jennings’s book is well-researched and an enjoyable read. It will inarguably prove valuable to scholars and students of colonialism and French history.” (Violaine Tisseau, The American Historical Review, Vol. 124 (2), April, 2019)

“Jennings’s well-written study discusses the colony’s devastating sanitary crisis on the islands of Nosy Be, Nosy Komba, and Sainte-Marie (caused by malarial and typhoid fevers, dysentery, smallpox … . this book would be interesting to historians, anthropologists, and French teachers, and could be used as a reader in courses discussing France’s colonial history,which all too often focus solely on Algeria.” (Christa Jones, French Review, Vol. 92 (3), March, 2019)