Pap Ndiaye

November 4-13, 2016
East Coast

Pap Ndiaye is a historian, specializing in the social history of the United States with a focus on its minorities. He holds a doctorate from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) where he was a lecturer before being selected in 2012 as Professor at the Institut d' Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). He is a member of the Center for North American Studies and of the editorial board of the journal History

From 1991 to 1996, he studied in the United States where he wrote his thesis on the petrochemical company, DuPont. On his return to France, he was appointed lecturer at the EHESS. 

His publications include: Nylon and Bombs, DuPont and the March of Modern America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007); American Democracy in the Twentieth Century: Towards Work with J. Heffer and F. Weil (Belin, 2000); La Condition noire (Calmann-Lévy, 2008; Follio Gallimard, 2009); Les Noirs américains: En marche pour l'égalité (Gallimard, 2009) and Histoire de Chicago (co-written with Andrew J. Diamond; Fayard, 2013).

Ndiaye is a pioneer of "Black Studies" in French. He founded the Circle of Action for the Promotion of Diversity in France (CAPDIV) with Patrick Loze. He is currently working on a global history of civil rights in the 20th century.

Proposed Lectures


Malcom X in Paris (1964-1965):

Malcom X's stay in Paris is well known but not well understood. It is well-known thanks to historians of Malcom X who have mentioned what is mostly seen as a stopover between more important visits. Manning Marable does mention his stay in Paris, in just a few lines in his chronicle of Malcom X's international tour: "He arrived in Paris on November 18th, 1964, checking in at the hôtel Delavine, where he would stay for about a week to address a crowd at the Maison de la Mutualité five days later."

Paying closer attention to Malcolm X in Paris allows us to better understand the global dimension of his activism and thoughts in the last period of his life. This perspective requires that we analyze his interactions with various people during his time in Paris, not only listening to what he told his French audience, but also what his audience had to say in response; what Malcolm X heard and possibly learned is as important as what he had to say. In other words, I argue that the most fruitful approach to Malcolm X abroad is not only to look at his travel diaries, but to make an in-depth description of the social and political situations which he encountered.

Last but not least, the activist's legacy in France is important to analyze; Malcolm X's posthumous history is part of a larger history, that of the organization of racial minorities in France and its transnational connections, and the situation of Paris as a postcolonial metropole.

The French Debate on Reparations for Slavery: A Pragmatic Approach:

In France, public debates around slavery as a historical issue and as an object of collective memory have been very visible since the late 1990s. They have revolved around several historical issues such as the role played by slavery in the French economic take-off, the everyday life of slaves in French colonies as compared to other colonial/imperial situations and, most importantly here, a series of contemporary questions all linked to the social situation of racial minorities in France. The relationship between past situations of domination (slavery and other forms of colonial oppression) and current situations of domination (racial discrimination in French society) is at the heart of current debates in post-colonial France.

While not being central to the current questioning of the color-blind French Republic, and the growing political visibility of French Blacks, the issue of reparations for slavery has been debated since 2001, when the French Parliament voted the “Taubira Law” declaring that slavery is a crime against humanity and urging French and European authorities to promote the study of slavery and commemorate its memory. My presentation analyzes the current debate on reparations for slavery in France, and suggests a pragmatic approach to reparations, which may find a reasonably broad political support.

The Minority Paradox: Blackness in France:

My presentation discusses the notion of "French Blacks," which obviously doesn't fit neatly within the classic French Republican understanding of citizenship. How and why is it intellectually and politically legitimate to use this notion? I will discuss the reasons why French scholars have been reluctant to focus on racial minorities. Second, I will discuss the notion of "blackness," that is the subjectification of racial identities in France in the 20th century, and show why a new blackness has emerged in France in the past few years.

Tour Program


To be announced


If you would like to invite this author to speak at your university or bookstore, please fill out the application form  and email it to Anne-Sophie Hermil anne-sophie.hermil@diplomatie.gouv.fr.