Constructing Dakar: Assimilation, Association and Power in French African Urban Development

Dustin Harris


Founded in Senegal in 1857, the French West African capital of Dakar visually projected France's assimilationist vision of colonial power. This paper addresses the current scholarship on French African urban development by offering an introductory analysis of the interaction and convergence of assimilation and association in Dakar before 1914. It questions the impact this interplay had on the French understanding of assimilation as a category of colonial power. The impact of both cultural theories on African city-dwellers is also examined to highlight how this population responded to and transformed French colonial planning ideology.

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The Graduate History Review EISSN 1925-2455

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