While European commerce in race was substantial, the colonial trade in ideas of race was highly profitable as well. Looking at official propaganda and commercial representations in France during the Third Republic, this book explores the way the French increased the value of their racial identity at home at the expense of their colonized brothers and sisters. The French did not create the identity-effacing stereotypes of Africans, Arabs, and Indochinese. Instead they refined or remolded these images, and as they did so they redefined and remolded their images of themselves. Focusing on world's fairs, colonial expositions, and mundane manufacturers' trademarks, Races on Display shows not only the prevalence of racial stereotypes, but also how complex these representations prove to be.
. . . very clear and straight-forward. The introduction is brief and refreshingly unencumbered with theoretical jargon; indeed, the work as a whole is free of the commonly cumbersome and overly complex intellectual gymnastics of many postcolonial studies of racial images. In these opening pages, Hale lays out her argument and gives the reader a clear blueprint for the text. Throughout the work, Hale blends historiography into the narrative flow in an almost seamless manner.April 2009--Michael Vann "Sacramento State University "