The 2005 riots against discrimination and racism have uncovered a ferocious war of representation going on about France's past and present, a war with multiple fronts and numerous combat zones. As the French social body is slowly imploding over the fate of citizens of color, the aftermath of the riots has unearthed considerable cracks and fault lines in France's republican ideals, such that new realities no longer fit into dominant social scientific conceptual models. Indeed, the depth of the crisis recalls, fifty years after Georges Balandier coined it, the metaphor of colonial assaults "revealing" African societies' weakest points (Balandier 1955: 6). The parallel is not coincidental. Since 2005, unprecedented portions of the social body have come to grips with France's colonial past. Political commentators increasingly refer to imperial legacies to talk about current racial discrimination.1 On the media front, colonialism has become a mine for filmmakers and talk shows. In academia, the analytical power of colonial studies has become amplified, ending a long marginalization in French universities. These engagements shed light on three major changes at work: (1) the thinning and wearing of classic intellectual tools and the crafting of original categories of analysis, (2) the coming of age of a new "cultural" turn, where culture and identity emerge as central battlegrounds for social critique and political action, and (3) the unfolding of new forces and alternative fronts in France's social and political fabric, particularly among citizens of color and immigrant origin. The volatile combining of these dynamics explains why the colonial paradigm has proved disturbing to the point of becoming, in France, a veritable syndrome. In 2005, when the new colonial studies landed on French shores, their edges had been well worn out and softened.2 Yet they came to affect academia with a ferocity that contrasts with the ways in which, in the United States, colonial and postcolonial studies' capacity of intellectual disturbance ranges from the moderately exciting to the painfully predictable. A consistent engagement with grassroots actors quickly grounded the disputes amidst deeper social and political currents. At the university, the anchoring of the paradigm quickly started to make established methodologies and scholarly fields overlap, stretch, and burst beyond recognition. This chapter proposes a roadmap of these battles, by tracing first the long impotence of the colonial question from the 1980s to the early 2000s. Then, to delineate and understand the ideological camps that crystallized around its new irruption in the 2000s, I focus on two initiatives taken by Frenchwo/men of color in the wake of the 2005 riots, the CRAN (Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires) and the Indigènes de la République. Against these associations and their scholarly supporters, a conglomerate of academics rose up in arms. Dismissing the amplitude of social turbulences (Bertrand 2006b: 206), these scholars, including prominent specialists in area and colonial studies, deny that colonial models of social analysis can shed productive light on France's racial and political fissures. The chapter thus returns in conclusion to the academic terrain and explores current opposition to the analytical valence of colonial and postcolonial studies.