The chapters that follow originate in my longtime and many-sided
interest in questions about ‘‘empires back home,’’ the current shorthand
phrase that describes the back workings of colonialism and imperialism
on the metropolitan countries. All of them started life as invited lec-
tures or conference papers. I gave part of Chapter 1,‘‘Not the Right
Stu√’’ in 2004 as a talk to the New York University Institute of French
Studies. Chapter 2 was first invited by the Centre de Sociologie Euro-
péenne as a contribution to the Colloque International des Sciences
Sociales et Réflexivité: Hommage à Pierre Bourdieu held in Paris in
January 2003, on the occasion of the one-year anniversary of its one-
time director’s death. It was entitled ‘‘Pierre Bourdieu et la crise post-
coloniale des sciences sociales en France.’’ I was privileged to be invited
to give another part of the current chapter, also in Paris, later that year,
as ‘‘Politique et folklore en France,’’ at the Conference Du Folklore à
l’Ethnologie sponsored by the Musée National des Arts et Traditions
Populaires. Chapter 3, on Jean Renoir, was written for a conference on
the filmmaker and then published as a special number of The Persistence
of Vision, a film studies review published at the City University of New
York (cuny) Graduate Center. Chapter 4, on aesthetic modernism and
colonialism, was presented in 2001 both in the lecture series The Na-
tion and Beyond, held at the Center for Historical Studies, University
of Maryland, College Park and, on the invitation of the graduate stu-
dent members, to the French Cultural Studies seminar series at the
University of Pennsylvania. Chapter 5, on Locke as imperialist thinker,
which I was invited to give at the Third Centenary of the Publication
of the Two Treatises of Government sponsored by the Clarendon Edi-
tion of the Works of John Locke, the British Society for the History of
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