Conclusion: The Future of the Colonial Past
France has many colonial sites, but no museum of colonial history. Throughout the 1990s, there was discussion about creating some sort of edifice to recall colonial France. Committees were constituted, meetings held, and disputes aired, but for years nothing came of the proposal. The nature of the project and the very name of the site were unclear. Would it be a memorial, monument, museum or ‘historial’? Who would play the deciding role in the design and plan — curators, historians, political authorities or particular interest groups? What would be the role of pieds-noirs, descendants of colonial migrants and other stakeholders with particular links to the empire? Would the site be celebratory, commemorative or critical of colonialism? Where would the institution be located, and who would oversee its programme?
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