Albert Rakoto Ratsimamanga arrived in France with the Malagasy delegation to the Colonial Exposition of 1931. The founder of the Association des Étudiants d’origine malgache (1934) and of the Mouvement démocratique pour la Rénovation de Madagascar (1946), he was a physician and a biologist, and he joined the Centre national de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) as a senior researcher, pursuing his scientific career and his nationalistic involvement in the postwar Paris of the 1950s. He was the first ambassador of the Malagasy Republic to France, for 13 years, before he returned to settle permanently in Madagascar in 1975. The transversality of his life course can be interpreted along several lines: chronologic straddling of this diasporic projection with political independence, loyalty to an aristocratic ethos with a progressive rallying to a republican conception of citizenship, and imperial circulation of knowledge attested to by the foundation of the Institut malgache de Recherches appliquées in 1957. Moreover, the paper points out the heuristic significance of the memorialization of his part as the nation’s father, standing up for the hypothesis of a retrospective enlightening of the state’s transmission continuum, within an ideological and institutional framework that was constantly being negotiated with the former colonial power.

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