Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. Global Studies Program


Professor Britt Halvorson

Second Advisor

Professor Audrey Brunetaux


France is well known for promoting dominant white ideals of “Frenchness” over all others, stemming from the French republican ideal of culture-blind and colorblind universalism.. This universalism, however, is often criticized for glossing over individual heritage and struggles, and studies surrounding this issue often focus on ethnic groups that have made headlines, such as Muslim and North African populations in France. But what about less studied communities, such as the Japanese in France? These less studied populations are worth investigating as we can look at their experiences to further understand the impact of French nationalism. Through a primarily interview-based ethnographic approach, this project examines the ways in which people of Japanese heritage living in France navigate their personal ethnic identity in relation to the promotion of French nationalism. My findings suggest that my interview subjects have not had similar experiences to the more researched minority groups living in France, perhaps as a result of positive associations of Japan within the media, as well as the economic statuses of my interview subjects. I also consider the comparisons between French and Japanese nationalism, and the consequent differences that my interviewees noticed in each culture as a result of their cosmopolitan lifestyles. Overall, because of the cosmopolitanism practiced by my interviews allowing them to experience nationalism in France and Japan, alongside other beneficial portrayals of Japan in French media, my interview subjects have been able to self-identify in various ways that differ from many other experiences of other minority groups living in France.


Nationalism, Identity, Cosmpolitanism