African Studies French Colonial Rule
by
Ruth Ginio, Jennifer Sessions
  • LAST MODIFIED: 25 February 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199846733-0029

Introduction

The French presence in Africa dates to the 17th century, but the main period of colonial expansion came in the 19th century with the invasion of Ottoman Algiers in 1830, conquests in West and Equatorial Africa during the so-called scramble for Africa and the establishment of protectorates in Tunisia and Morocco in the decades before the First World War. To these were added parts of German Togo and Cameroon, assigned to France as League of Nations mandates after the war. By 1930, French colonial Africa encompassed the vast confederations of French West Africa (AOF, f. 1895) and French Equatorial Africa (AEF, f. 1905), the western Maghreb, the Indian Ocean islands of Madagascar, Réunion, and the Comoros, and Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. Within this African empire, territories in sub-Saharan Africa were treated primarily as colonies of exploitation, while a settler colonial model guided colonization efforts in the Maghreb, although only Algeria drew many European immigrants. Throughout Africa, French rule was characterized by sharp contradictions between a rhetorical commitment to the “civilization” of indigenous people through cultural, political, and economic reform, and the harsh realities of violent conquest, economic exploitation, legal inequality, and sociocultural disruption. At the same time, French domination was never as complete as the solid blue swathes on maps of “Greater France” would suggest. As in all empires, colonized people throughout French Africa developed strategies to resist or evade French authority, subvert or co-opt the so-called civilizing mission, and cope with the upheavals of occupation. After the First World War, new and more organized forms of contestation emerged, as Western-educated reformers, nationalists, and trade unions pressed by a variety of means for a more equitable distribution of political and administrative power. Frustrated in the interwar period, these demands for change spurred the process of decolonization after the Second World War. Efforts by French authorities and some African leaders to replace imperial rule with a federal organization failed, and following a 1958 constitutional referendum, almost all French territories in sub-Saharan Africa claimed their independence. In North Africa, Tunisian and Moroccan nationalists were able to force the French to negotiate independence in the 1950s, but decolonization in Algeria, with its million European settlers, came only after a protracted and brutal war (1954–1962) that left deep scars in both postcolonial states. Although formal French rule in Africa had ended by 1962, the ties it forged continue to shape relations between France and its former colonial territories throughout the continent.

General Overviews

General information on French colonial rule in Africa can be found in works dealing with French imperialism as a whole, in specific regional or national histories, as well as in general and comparative studies of European colonialism in Africa. The books in this section belong to the first two categories. Among histories of French imperialism, Aldrich 1996 is a concise, readable overview of French colonial empire in the 19th and 20th centuries, presented in thematic chapters. In French, the two-volume series Mayer, et al. 1991 and Thobie, et al. 1990 remains the standard, if largely narrative, reference for scholars. Manning 1988 is a good reference in English, focusing only on sub-Saharan Africa and extending into the postcolonial period, while Coquery-Vidrovitch and Goerg 1992 offers a more African perspective on the history of French colonial rule and examines each of the territories of the two federations in sub-Saharan Africa. The essays in Thomas 2011, many concerning Africa, represent more recent scholarly approaches to the mind-sets of those involved in the French colonial endeavor that take account of the tensions between the ideologies and practices of French imperialism, as well as the agency of colonized people in negotiating colonial relationships. Regional approaches to colonial North Africa emphasize environmental, historical, and cultural linkages that transcend colonial and state boundaries, as well as the shared features of French colonial domination across the Maghreb. Rivet 2002 is an excellent synthetic analysis of the consequences of French colonization for North African societies. Katan Bensamoun, et al. 2007 is a more succinct introduction intended for undergraduate students. There are also good histories of the individual French colonies and the nation-states that succeeded them. Bouchène, et al. 2012 presents brief essays by international experts on all aspects of Algeria’s colonial history, offering a useful and accessible overview of current scholarship in the field.

  • Aldrich, Robert. Greater France: A History of French Overseas Expansion. London: Macmillan, 1996.

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    A readable survey of French empire in the modern period intended as a textbook for undergraduates. Thematic chapters draw on examples from across the French empire, including but not limited to Africa.

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    • Bouchène, Abderrahmane, Jean-Pierre Peyroulou, Ouanassa Siari Tengour, and Sylvie Thénault, eds. Histoire de l’Algérie à la période coloniale, 1830–1962. Paris: La Découverte; Algiers: Barzakh, 2012.

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      This collection of short essays intended for a general public offers an excellent introduction to the main themes in Algerian history during the colonial period.

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      • Coquery-Vidrovitch, Catherine, and Odile Goerg, eds. L’Afrique occidentale au temps des Français: colonisateurs et colonisés, c. 1860–1960. Paris: La Découverte, 1992.

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        A study of encounters between colonizer and colonized in French West Africa throughout the colonial period, focusing on “history from below.” Following a general analysis of French colonial rule in the AOF, a separate chapter is devoted to each colony.

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        • Katan Bensamoun, Yvette, Rama Chalak, and Jacques-Robert Katan. Le Maghreb de l’empire ottoman à la fin de la colonisation française. Paris: Belin, 2007.

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          A succinct, undergraduate-level textbook account of the histories of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco from the 18th century through decolonization, emphasizing economic and cultural history.

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          • Manning, Patrick. Francophone Sub-Saharan Africa 1880–1985. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

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            A general survey of Francophone Africa from 1880 to 1985, focused on political, economic and cultural developments. Offers a brief discussion of several important subjects and basic concepts of this historical period. Useful coverage of the first twenty-five years of independence and thus the continuities and ruptures between the colonial and postcolonial periods.

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            • Mayer, Jean, Jean Tarrade, Annie Rey-Goldzeiguer, and Jacques Thobie. Histoire de la France coloniale. Vol. 1, Des origines à 1914. Paris: Armand Colin, 1991.

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              Functioning primarily as a reference work, the first volume of a two-part synthetic account of French colonial expansion and its impact on France by leading French scholars. The second part can be found in Thobie, et al. 1990. Both volumes devote significant attention to North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Volume 1 focuses on the processes of colonization and establishment of colonial administrations.

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              • Rivet, Daniel. Le Maghreb à l’épreuve de la colonisation. Paris: Hachette, 2002.

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                A synthetic analysis of the impact of French colonization across the Maghreb, with a useful comparative sensibility and attention to both transformations and continuities.

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                • Thobie, Jacques, Gilbert Meynier, Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, and Charles-Robert Ageron. Histoire de la France coloniale. Vol. 2, 1914–1990. Paris: Armand Colin, 1990.

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                  Continues where Mayer, et al. 1991 left off, examining French colonial rule from the First World War to the era of decolonization. Despite its title, this volume takes the historical narrative only to the demise of the Fourth Republic in 1958.

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                  • Thomas, Martin, ed. The French Colonial Mind: Mental Maps of Empire and Colonial Encounters. 2 vols. Lincoln: Nebraska University Press, 2011.

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                    This wide-ranging collection of essays by international scholars offers students and specialists alike an excellent cross-section of recent research on French colonialism, including in Africa. Volume 1 focuses on cultural encounters, and Volume 2 focuses on colonial violence.

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                    Historiography

                    As in other colonial contexts, histories of French-ruled Africa have been deeply implicated in the culture and politics of colonialism, making historical narratives an important object of inquiry in their own right. The proper methods, sources, and conceptual frameworks for studying African colonial societies have been a central historiographical problem since the 1950s. Cooper 2005 is the most influential current theoretical consideration of these questions, and is rightly required reading for students and specialists alike. Le Gall and Perkins 1997 presents an exemplary set of historiographical essays surveying postcolonial historical research on all aspects of Maghrebi history. The articles in Coquery-Vidrovitch, et al. 1998 offer a fascinating snapshot of Francophone African historians’ approaches to their own history, while Bargaoui and Remouan 2006 offers a similar perspective on historical scholarship in the Maghreb, as well as an excellent example of a second prominent approach to colonial historiography, which takes history itself as a field of colonial knowledge to be studied as such. Duluq 2009 is a useful examination of the development of African history as a discipline in France, emphasizing its links to colonial institutions but also challenging blanket condemnations of the imperialist character of colonial-era historical research. McDougall 2006 charts the diversity of Algerian historical narratives silenced by hegemonic nationalist visions of the past. Stora 2007 is one of the most concise and accessible of many 21st-century French works about the ongoing “Memory Wars” over the writing, teaching, and commemoration of France’s colonial past and its impact on contemporary French society, by a historian deeply engaged in combating revisionist accounts of the “positive aspects” of French colonialism.

                    • Bargaoui, Sami, and Hassan Remouan, eds. Savoirs historiques au Maghreb: construction et usage. Oran: CRASC, 2006.

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                      A collection of essays about the political and social uses of historical knowledge in the Maghreb, from the medieval period to the present. Offers Francophone students and scholars an excellent introduction to North African historical traditions and current scholarship in this field.

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                      • Coquery-Vidrovitch, Catherine, Odile Goerg, and Hervé Tenoux, eds. Des historiens africains en Afrique: l’histoire d’hier et d’aujourd’hui: logiques du passé et dynamiques actuelles. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1998.

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                        A collection of essays by fifteen African historians working in Francophone African universities on the question of continuity and rupture in African societies from the colonial period and the links between major issues in Africa today and the colonial past. Offers a fascinating perspective on Africanist approaches to French colonial history in Africa.

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                        • Cooper, Frederick. Colonialism in Question: Theory, Knowledge, History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.

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                          A stimulating and influential set of essays on the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of colonial history, with many examples drawn from French Africa. Essential reading for specialists and advanced students.

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                          • Duluq, Sophie. Écrire l’histoire de l’Afrique à l’époque coloniale. Paris: Karthala, 2009.

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                            An intellectual and institutional history of French historical writing about Africa and its relationship to French colonial rule.

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                            • Le Gall, Michel, and Kenneth Perkins, eds. The Maghrib in Question: Essays in History and Historiography. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1997.

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                              This collection of essays aims to provide an overview of historical work produced by scholars in North Africa, Europe, and North America since decolonization on all periods of Maghrebi history. An especially useful resource for graduate students.

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                              • McDougall, James. History and the Culture of Nationalism in Algeria. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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                                An erudite study of Algerian historical traditions that challenges nationalist narratives of Algeria’s past. Most suited to advanced students and specialists.

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                                • Stora, Benjamin. La guerre des mémoires: la France face a son passé coloniale. La Tour d’Aigues: Éditions de l’Aube, 2007.

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                                  A concise, engaged introduction to the ongoing French political struggles over the colonial past and its contemporary legacies, aimed at students and the general public.

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                                  Journals

                                  Articles on Africa under French colonial rule can be found in both area studies journals and those focusing on colonial history. Those interested in the AOF, AEF, and the Indian Ocean islands will find Africanist journals, including Cahiers d’études africaines, International Journal of African Historical Studies, and Journal of African History, most useful. North African topics are more likely to be covered in journals focused on the Middle East and the Muslim world. The Journal of North African Studies is one of the few scholarly reviews specifically dedicated to the Maghreb, while the International Journal of Middle East Studies and Revue des mondes musulmans et de la méditerranée, the leading Middle East studies journals in English and French respectively, frequently publish articles pertaining to French North Africa. Work on all regions of the French empire in Africa can be found in Journals focusing on French colonialism in general such as French Colonial History and Outre-mers: revue d’histoire.

                                  Archives, Libraries, and Research Resources

                                  Documentation concerning French colonialism in Africa can be found in France and its ex-colonies, as well as in repositories elsewhere. The two main archival centers in France are the Archives nationales in Paris and the Archives nationales d’Outre-mer (ANOM) in Aix-en Provence. Boyer, et al. 1980 provides an overview of materials held at both of these sites, while Archives nationales d’Outre-mer, Instruments de recherche en ligne (IREL) offers online access to the library catalogue and detailed inventories for some archival record groups at the ANOM. Archival documents from the French protectorates in Morocco and Tunisia are deposited at the Centre des Archives diplomatiques de Nantes, which provides digital copies of its top-level inventories. Devos, et al. 2001 briefly describes the materials related to and generated by French military operations throughout the empire held at the Service historique de la Défense in Vincennes, which are especially critical for research on Algeria. Conseil international des archives 1971–1976 and Conseil international des archives 1984–1996 are excellent starting places for researchers seeking to identify relevant collections, although they should not be considered exhaustive and practical details are often well out-of-date. Archives and libraries in former French colonies hold significant collections of documents related to the periods of colonial rule and decolonization that cannot be found in France, with various measures of access. Space precludes listing them all here, but the excellent French Resources portal has information for libraries, archives, and documentation centers in France, the Maghreb, and sub-Saharan Africa, as well as links to many useful online resources. Kudo, et al. 2004 provides an invaluable introduction to the particular challenges of archival research in Algeria, while M’Baye 1990 provides a good overview of the AOF archives maintained by the Senegalese national archives in Dakar.

                                  • Archives nationales d’Outre-mer. Instruments de recherche en ligne (IREL).

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                                    Provides online access to the library catalogue and some inventories for the French colonial archives, the Archives nationales d’Outre-Mer in Aix-en-Provence, as well as to some digitized materials. Record groups are still being added to the online inventories, which are not complete. The online inventories are useful for keyword searching, but language difficulties and an awkward user interface make paper inventories preferable for many researchers.

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                                    • Boyer, Pierre, Marie-Antoinette Menier, and Étienne Taillemite, eds. Les Archives nationales. État général des fonds. Vol. 3, Marine et Outre-mer. Paris: Archives nationales, 1980.

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                                      The highest-level inventory for archival materials related to the French colonies, including in Africa, in the French National Archives. Note that this volume was published before the opening of the Archives nationales d’Outre-Mer in Aix-en-Provence and that most materials described here were subsequently relocated there. Does not cover documents related to French protectorates in the Maghreb, which are held by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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                                      • Centre des Archives diplomatiques de Nantes. “Etat général des fonds.”

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                                        Provides links to digitized copies of the top-level inventories for the archives of the protectorates in Tunisia and Morocco.

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                                        • Conseil international des archives. Sources de l’histoire de l’Afrique au Sud du Sahara dans les archives et bibliothèques françaises. 2 vols. Zug, Switzerland: Inter Documentation, 1971–1976.

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                                          Produced as part of a large-scale, UNESCO-supported project to gather information about the sources available worldwide for the study of developing countries. Although many repositories and collections have moved and others have become available since the guide was written, this is still an indispensable starting point for identifying resources, including archival, library, manuscript, and iconographic materials, relevant to the history of sub-Saharan French Africa. Organized by repository, and especially valuable for including many—if not all—smaller and provincial institutions.

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                                          • Conseil international des archives. Sources de l’histoire du Proche-Orient et de l’Afrique du Nord dans les archives et bibliothèques françaises. 4 vols. New York and Paris: K. G. Saur, 1984–1996.

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                                            The volumes of the UNESCO-sponsored project devoted to the Middle East and North Africa, including French Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia.

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                                            • Devos, Jean-Claude, Marie-Anne Corvisier-De Villèle, Thierry Sarmant, and Samuel Gibiat, eds. Guide des archives et de la bibliothèque: Ministère de la Défense, État-major de l’armée de terre, Service historique. 2d ed. Vincennes, France: Service historique de l’armée de terre, 2001.

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                                              An introductory overview of the archival and library collections of the French military, which include extensive materials concerning French wars of conquest, repression, and decolonization across North and sub-Saharan Africa. Especially important for study of Algeria during the period of military administration in the 19th century.

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                                              • Kudo, Akihito, Raëd Bader, and Didier Guignard. “Des lieux pour la recherche en Algérie.” Bulletin de l’IHTP 83 (June 2004): n.p.

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                                                A brief but invaluable introduction to archival and library resources accessible to researchers in Algeria. An essential starting point for work in Algerian repositories, if necessarily incomplete and provisional.

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                                                • M’Baye, Saliou. Guide des archives de l’Afrique occidentale française. Dakar: Archives du Sénégal, 1990.

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                                                  A user-friendly introduction to the French colonial archives in Dakar offering a short explanation for each thematic series of documents. The archives are currently closed to the public while they move to a new location. The archive website can be found online.

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                                                  • Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies. French Resources. PORT (Postgraduate Online Research Training).

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                                                    This excellent website gathers together resources for research on the Francophone world, including North and sub-Saharan Africa. Includes information about archives, libraries, and other research institutions in France and in Africa.

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                                                    Conquest, Resistance, and Accommodation

                                                    Although scholars have long debated the relative weight of military and political forces in driving French imperial expansion in Africa, it is unquestionable that wars of conquest had enormous impact, both directly and indirectly, on African societies. The nature and degree of conflict between African forces and French invaders varied tremendously, with some of the greatest violence coming in the decades of the brutal conquest of Algeria and in the campaigns against the French of Haj Omar and Samori Touré in modern-day Guinea, and of King Behanzin in Dahomey (nowadays Benin). Equally important is that colonial invasions upset local balances of power, aggravating or triggering internal contests between African leaders and groups, while protracted warfare disrupted agriculture and trade, with devastating economic, social, and demographic consequences. Kanya-Forstner 1969 and Porch 1985 are traditional military histories of French campaigns in West and North Africa, respectively, readable for students and useful for specialists. Vandervort 1998 is a comparative study of European imperial conquests in Africa that combines old-fashioned military history with more recent approaches to the social history of war. As the most current synthetic treatment of this subject, it also considers in detail African responses to and perspectives on colonial occupation. Another approach emphasizes the ways that colonial conquests interacted with or sparked local power struggles. Danzinger 1977 is an insightful early example of this model, focusing on Algerian resistance leader Abd al-Qadir, who used the struggle against French invasion to pursue his own state-building ambitions in western Algeria. Pennell 1986 extends this approach to the career of Abd al-Karim, leader of the revolt against Spain and France in western Morocco known as the Rif War (1921–1926). Clancy-Smith 1994 and Robinson 2000 build on these earlier studies, rejecting binary conceptions of European conquest and indigenous resistance, charting instead a wide range of strategies for coping with and even taking advantage of French invasion, in which Muslim religious leaders and Sufi Islamic brotherhoods played a critical role. More recently, scholarship on the period of military conquest of North Africa has been concerned with the violence of colonial warfare and its political and cultural implications for both colonizer and colonized. On this theme, Brower 2009 is the best study of the culture of extreme violence developed within the French colonial army in Algeria, which is especially notable for its use of Arabic- and French-language sources to explore Algerian responses to French atrocities.

                                                    • Brower, Benjamin. A Desert Named Peace: The Violence of French Empire in the Algerian Sahara, 1844–1902. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.

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                                                      A dense, theoretically sophisticated analysis of the varied forms of violence that characterized the French conquest of the Algerian Sahara, based on French and Arabic sources. Required reading for advanced students and specialists.

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                                                      • Clancy-Smith, Julia. Rebel and Saint: Muslim Notables, Populist Protest, Colonial Encounters (Algeria and Tunisia, 1800–1904). Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.

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                                                        An essential study of the strategies adopted by North Africans in response to French conquest, with an emphasis on migration, religious revival, and armed revolt.

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                                                        • Danzinger, Raphael. Abd al-Qadir and the Algerians: Resistance to the French and Internal Consolidation. New York: Holmes and Meier, 1977.

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                                                          An older but still valuable study of Algerian resistance leader, émir Abd al-Qadir, who used the fight against French invasion to carve out his own state in Algeria.

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                                                          • Kanya-Forstner, Alexander Sydney. The Conquest of the Western Sudan: A Study in French Military Imperialism. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1969.

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                                                            A classic study of the process of French expansion into the interior of West Africa, focusing on the influence of military officers in shaping of French colonization policies.

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                                                            • Pennell, C. R. A Country with a Government and a Flag: The Rif War in Morocco. Wisbech, UK: Middle East and North African Studies, 1986.

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                                                              One of the few focused studies of the internal Moroccan dynamics of the Rif War (1921–1926), which depicts the resistance leader Abd al-Karim making innovative use of tradition in building his short-lived state.

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                                                              • Porch, Douglas. The Conquest of the Sahara. London: Cape, 1985.

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                                                                A largely narrative but empirically rich account of French efforts to conquer the vast region of the Sahara desert at the end of the 19th century and their violent encounters with nomadic groups inhabiting the area.

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                                                                • Robinson, David. Paths of Accommodation: Muslim Societies and French Colonial Authorities in Senegal and Mauritania, 1880–1920. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2000.

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                                                                  The importance of this study for the understanding of African responses to conquest is in the term “accommodation” it presents as a way to avoid dichotomy between resistance and collaboration during colonization.

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                                                                  • Vandervort, Bruce. Wars of Imperial Conquest in Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.

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                                                                    A synthetic history of 19th-century European colonial conquests in Africa that combines traditional “drums-and-trumpets” military history with New Military History approaches to both the invading armies and the Africans who resisted colonial occupation. The book deals with the entire African continent but much information can be found on the French military expeditions in North and sub-Saharan Africa. Useful for undergraduate and graduate students.

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                                                                    Mechanisms of Control: Institutions and Agents

                                                                    How did the French govern the vast African territories over which they claimed sovereignty? New political and administrative institutions were established to impose colonial authority over African populations and maintain order, but they also served the subtler purpose of categorizing populations and defining the boundaries between colonizer and colonized. Cohen 1971 is the only comprehensive examination of French colonial administrators in sub-Saharan Africa, offering a clear account of the development of the administration and the recruitment and training of its civilian personnel. Perkins 1981 is a comparable study of the military administrators responsible for native affairs across the French Maghreb. In the domain of colonial law, Mann 2009 is the best account of the harsh native code known as the indigénat, versions of which defined the legal and political status of colonial subjects in the French empire, while Thénault 2012 is an important study of the use of internment to control dissent and enforce the indigénat in Algeria throughout the colonial period. Despite the vast repressive powers they claimed, colonial states were weak in human terms—the AOF and AEF together had barely seven hundred civilian administrators to govern over eighteen million people by the mid-1930s—and so depended heavily on native intermediaries. The essays in Lawrence, et al. 2006 provide an excellent introduction to African intermediaries’ critical roles in the functioning of colonial states, as well as the ways they took advantage of their positions. Glasman 2015 highlights the ability of African policemen to negotiate their own status relative to the colonizer. Roberts 2005 focuses on French courts in the French Sudan (now Mali), making the methodologically important argument that colonial judicial records offer a valuable source for the social history of Africans who used them to advance their own agendas. Lewis 2013 examines the dynamics of overlapping sovereignties in protectorate Tunisia, showing that local residents’ manipulation of those overlaps was a critical factor in the development of the protectorate system. The agency of local actors within colonial institutions could have more sinister consequences, however, as Guignard 2010 shows in mapping systematic abuses of power by both European and Muslim Algerian office holders in colonial Algeria. Pedersen 2015 draws important new attention to the particularities of the mandate system established after the First World War, placing the French mandates in Africa in a global context.

                                                                    • Cohen, William B. Rulers of Empire: The French Colonial Service in Africa. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1971.

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                                                                      A classic and still-important study of the establishment of the colonial administration in sub-Saharan Africa, the training of civil administrators, and their functioning throughout the colonial period.

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                                                                      • Glasman, Joël. Les corps habillés au Togo. Genèse coloniale des métiers de police. Paris: Karthala, 2015.

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                                                                        Examines the different types of local colonial policing agents in Togo and their role as intermediaries between colonial authorities and African populations from the establishment of the first local police force under German rule into the French colonial period, through the infantry companies of postcolonial Togo.

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                                                                        • Guignard, Didier. Les abus de pouvoir dans l’Algérie coloniale, 1880–1914: visibilité et singularité. Paris: Presses universitaires de Paris ouest, 2010.

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                                                                          The only empirical examination of the many ways office holders and influential civilians in French Algeria used the institutions of settler colonialism to their own economic, social, and political benefit, deeply researched in French and Algerian archives.

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                                                                          • Lawrence, Benjamin N., Emily Lynn Osborn, and Richard L. Roberts, eds. Intermediaries, Interpreters, and Clerks: African Employees in the Making of Colonial Africa. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2006.

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                                                                            A collection of essays examining the crucial role of African intermediaries in the maintenance of colonial order and their ability to negotiate with and even manipulate colonial authorities. Half of the contributions focus on French colonial Africa.

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                                                                            • Lewis, Mary Dewhurst. Divided Rule: Sovereignty and Empire in French Tunisia, 1881–1938. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013.

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                                                                              A nuanced study of the evolution of the French protectorate in Tunisia, focused on the ways that the cosmopolitan local population navigated the regime of dual sovereignty and pushed the French toward an increasingly “colonial” posture.

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                                                                              • Mann, Gregory. “What was the indigénat? The ‘Empire of Law’ in French West Africa.” Journal of African History 50.3 (November 2009): 331–353.

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                                                                                A concise depiction of the indigénat as a tool of repression and rhetorical cover for harsh, coercive violence, challenging the view of Roberts 2005 and others that French colonial rule constituted an “empire of law.”

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                                                                                • Pedersen, Susan. The Guardians: The League of Nations and the Crisis of Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

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                                                                                  A global history of the League of Nations mandate system from its creation in 1920 through its demise in 1939, this book offers a pioneering analysis of the international and local dynamics of this system. Although not focused on France alone, it considers the French mandates in Africa and the Levant from a broadly comparative perspective.

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                                                                                  • Perkins, Kenneth. Qaids, Captains, and Colons: French Military Administration in the Colonial Maghrib, 1844–1934. New York: Africana, 1981.

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                                                                                    The only comparative study of the activities and personnel of native affairs administration in Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. Based on detailed research in French and North African archives, extends the approach of Cohen 1971 to the soldier-administrators of the Maghreb.

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                                                                                    • Roberts, Richard. Litigants and Households: African Disputes and Colonial Courts in the French Soudan, 1895–1912. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2005.

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                                                                                      Examines African motives for bringing their most intimate disputes before the newly established colonial legal system. These legal disputes serve as a prism for better understanding changes in social relations and everyday life in the early colonial period.

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                                                                                      • Thénault, Sylvie. Violence ordinaire dans l’Algérie coloniale: camps, internements, assignations à résidence. Paris: Odile Jacob, 2012.

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                                                                                        A deeply researched history of internment in French Algeria, showing that it was not an exceptional practice instituted in the crisis of the Algerian War of Independence, but a standard method for controlling resistance and maintaining order throughout the colonial period.

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                                                                                        Colonial Economies and Labor Regimes

                                                                                        Historians now generally agree that French expansion was primarily political, rather than economic in motivation, but economic exploitation and mise en valeur (economic development) had great practical and ideological importance once French colonial rule was established. Economic assessments of these efforts are damning, but their transformations of local economies and labor regimes had a profound impact on colonized societies. In sub-Saharan Africa, the questions of slavery and forced labor are central. Klein 1998 is an important study of the development of African slavery in response to French abolitionist efforts, while Fall 1993 examines the multiple forms of forced labor instituted by the French in AOF, highlighting their similarities to the slavery the French so vehemently condemned. The labor question overlaps with another classic theme in African economic history, the impact of colonial rule on Africa’s long-term economic development. Coquery-Vidrovitch 1972 is a massive study of the vicious concessionary companies responsible for appalling atrocities and, the book argues, for under-development in Central Africa. Van Beusekom 2002 is the best of the few studies of the Office du Niger, the largest—and failed— agricultural development project in the AOF, as a cautionary tale about the limitations of top-down approaches to economic development. In the Maghreb, settler colonialism shaped colonial economies and labor regimes. Although not a traditional historical study, Launay 1963 is essential for understanding the experience of Algerian peasants and agricultural workers. Lefeuvre 2005 studies French-Algerian trade from the perspective of venerable debates about the relationship between capitalism and imperialism, making the controversial argument that France, rather than exploiting Algeria, subsidized its inefficient economy in the decades before decolonization. Gharbi 1994 is an important study of French railroads in the Maghreb, emphasizing their key role in shaping French economic and political interests in Tunisia. Lydon 2009 bridges the traditional gap between West and North African colonial histories by studying trans-Saharan commerce in the 19th century, emphasizing the role of family and community (especially women) and Islamic law in sustaining long-distance trade Finally, labor historians have examined the links between labor organization, anticolonial nationalist movements, and decolonization. Cooper 1996 is a rightly influential study of the key role of African trade unions in the process of decolonization in sub-Saharan French and British Africa. Gallissot 2006 is the most concise account of the Algerian labor movement, from a Marxist perspective that, like Cooper, highlights unions’ central role in the development of anticolonial nationalism.

                                                                                        • Cooper, Frederick. Decolonization and African Society: The Labor Question in French and British Africa. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511584091Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          A comparative study of French and British colonial labor policies in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on the way in which African trade unions used the new language of social change to struggle for equality within the colonial system.

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                                                                                          • Coquery-Vidrovitch, Catherine. Le Congo au temps des grandes compagnies concessionnaires, 1989–1930. Paris: Mouton, 1972.

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                                                                                            A detailed study of the concessionary companies granted control of the process of mise en valeur in AEF and their cruel exploitation of Central African laborers conscripted to harvest rubber, wood, and other natural resources despite their ultimate unprofitability.

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                                                                                            • Fall, Boubacar. Le travail forcé en Afrique occidentale française (1900–1946). Paris: Karthala, 1993.

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                                                                                              The most comprehensive study of the different types of forced labor in AOF, including agriculture, the railway industry, private enterprises, and forced labor disguised as military service.

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                                                                                              • Gallissot, René. La République française et les indigènes: Algérie colonisée, Algérie algérienne (1870–1962). Paris: Les Éditions de l’Atelier, 2006.

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                                                                                                Despite its title, this is an important history of the Algerian labor movement that reflects the author’s Marxist sympathies.

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                                                                                                • Gharbi, Mohamed Lazhar. Impérialisme et réformisme au Maghreb: histoire d’un chemin de fer algéro-tunisien. Tunis: Cérès, 1994.

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                                                                                                  The only detailed study of the Bône-Guelma railroad company, which was responsible for the construction and maintenance of railroads in Algeria and Tunisia.

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                                                                                                  • Klein, Martin. Slavery and Colonial Rule in French West Africa. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511584138Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                    A study of slavery in three territories in AOF before and during French colonial rule, focusing primarily on the changing relationships between slave and master.

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                                                                                                    • Launay, Michel. Paysans algériens, la terre, la vigne, les hommes. Paris: Seuil, 1963.

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                                                                                                      An important account of the condition of Algerian agricultural workers in the Oranais where the author served during the Algerian war. Heated in denouncing the impact of French settler colonization on the Algerian peasantry, this book is especially valuable for relaying vineyard workers’ own accounts of their history and of the then-ongoing Algerian Revolution.

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                                                                                                      • Lefeuvre, Daniel. Chère Algérie: la France et sa colonie, 1930–1962. Paris: Flammarion, 2005.

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                                                                                                        A detailed analysis of trade between France and Algeria advancing the revisionist argument that Algeria was a beneficiary of, rather than an asset to, the French state and metropolitan capitalists. Justly appreciated for the data it makes available, the book is equally justly criticized for its author’s rosy depiction of French colonial rule as a positive force in Algeria.

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                                                                                                        • Lydon, Ghislaine. On Trans-Saharan Trails: Islamic Law, Trade Networks, and Cross-Cultural Exchange in Nineteenth-Century Western Africa. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511575457Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          A deeply researched study of trans-Saharan trading networks in the 19th-century focusing on the Western Sahara between southern Morocco and Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal, notable for its attention to women traders.

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                                                                                                          • Van Beusekom, Monica. Negotiating Development: African Farmers and Colonial Experts at the Office du Niger, 1920–1960. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2002.

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                                                                                                            A rare examination of the controversial colonial project of the Office du Niger in French Sudan (now Mali). Emphasizing the agency of Malian farmers, the author sees this project as formative in the history of the ideology of rural development.

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                                                                                                            Civilizing Missions

                                                                                                            French colonization in Africa was legitimized by the ideology of the civilizing mission, which helped to reconcile repressive colonial rule with the liberal-republican values of liberty, equality and fraternity. Conklin 1997 is the foundational study of the contradictions inherent in the civilizing mission, focused on the governors general of AOF during the Third Republic. The implementation of the so-called civilizing mission has been examined most closely in three domains. Education is the most prominent; through it the French attempted to reshape African cultures, modes of thinking, and everyday behaviors. Kelly 2000 examines the ways in which school textbooks in AOF and Vietnam reflected the French educational aims in both regions. Colonna 1975 focuses instead on colonial teachers, examining the role of colonial ideology in the recruitment of Algerians to teach in French colonial schools and the social consequences for Algerian teachers. Sraïeb 1995 examines the paradoxical outcomes of colonial education in the case of a prestigious, bilingual Tunisian school that contributed to the formation of both the colonial elite and the early Tunisian nationalist movement. Another major area in which the civilizing mission discourse was reflected was health. Africa figured in the French colonial imagination as a deeply sick continent which colonial rule was to cure, but colonial medicine often did more to harm than to heal Africans. Headrick and Headrick 1994 argues that the supposedly sacred mission to cure Africans of their illnesses was in fact guided by economic interests of the colonial state in AEF, which attempted to reconcile Africans to its exactions. Amster 2013 takes a different approach, defining medicine as a field of colonial encounter where French and Moroccan practitioners, policymakers, and patients struggled for control of Moroccan bodies. A third area in which the French tried to implement its civilizing mission was urban planning, which the French used to rationalize and control the supposed disorder of African towns and cities. Comparing French and British colonies, Goerg 1997 examines how city planning served to separate colonial populations and enforce segregation in the urban landscape. Çelik 1997 is the best of several studies of French urban planning in Algiers, examining the political and aesthetic forces at work in the transformation of the urban fabric and the segregation of “European” and “Arab” quarters.

                                                                                                            • Amster, Ellen. Medicine and the Saints: Science, Islam, and the Colonial Encounter in Morocco, 1877–1956. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013.

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                                                                                                              Examining colonial relations in Morocco through the prism of public health, this study brilliantly analyzes the complex interactions of Western medicine, local medicine, Islam, and colonial rule on the basis of deep archival research and oral histories in French and Arabic.

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                                                                                                              • Çelik, Zeynep. Urban Forms and Colonial Confrontations: Algiers under French Rule. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

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                                                                                                                This readable study demonstrates how architecture and urban planning in Algiers reflected French colonial ideology and the power dynamics of settler colonialism.

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                                                                                                                • Colonna, Fanny. Instituteurs algériens, 1883–1939. Paris: Presses de la Fondation nationale des sciences politiques, 1975.

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                                                                                                                  A classic study of the education system in Algeria that emphasizes the ambiguous status of Algerian teachers, French attempts to train teachers and recruit them to the colonial cause, and teachers’ ability to take advantage of their role as mediators.

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                                                                                                                  • Conklin, Alice L. A Mission to Civilize. The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895–1930. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997.

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                                                                                                                    The first study to tackle the contradictions between French Republican values and colonial repressive policies, examining how the colonial administration in AOF attempted (mostly in vain) to reconcile them.

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                                                                                                                    • Goerg, Odile. Pouvoir colonial, municipalités et espaces urbains: Conakry-Freetown des années 1880–1914. 2 vols. Paris: L’Harmattan, 1997.

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                                                                                                                      A comparative study of urban policy in Freetown in British Sierra Leone and in Conakry in French Guinea. Volume 1 focuses on the emergence and activities of municipalities under colonial rule, and Volume 2 examines urbanism and public health policy.

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                                                                                                                      • Headrick, Rita, and Daniel Headrick. Colonialism, Health and Illness in French Equatorial Africa, 1885–1935. Atlanta: African Studies Association, 1994.

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                                                                                                                        Examines medical policy in the federation of Equatorial French Africa and the demographic crisis it caused, with grave consequences.

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                                                                                                                        • Kelly, Gail Paradise. French Colonial Education: Essays on Vietnam and West Africa. New York: AMS, 2000.

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                                                                                                                          An accessible, comparative study of French colonial education policy in French West Africa and in Vietnam, based on analysis of textbooks designed for these different parts of the French empire. A useful teaching tool for explaining colonial education.

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                                                                                                                          • Sraïeb, Noureddine. Le collège Sadiki de Tunis, 1875–1956: enseignement et nationalisme. Paris: CNRS, 1995.

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                                                                                                                            A detailed study of a famous bilingual school founded by Tunisian reformers prior to the establishment of the protectorate, which went on to train both colonial auxiliaries and Tunisian nationalist leaders.

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                                                                                                                            Colonial Categories and Forms of Knowledge

                                                                                                                            French colonialism, like other colonialisms, relied on rigid categorization of colonial subjects and aspired, mostly unsuccessfully, to maintain clear boundaries between the categories it created. This effort was based on knowledge considered essential to establish and maintain colonial rule. Largely inspired by Edward Said’s analysis of Orientalism, the relationship between Western forms of knowledge and colonial power has become a central issue in colonial studies since the 1990s. Cohen 1980 is an early and important precursor to this postcolonial turn, which traces precolonial French perceptions of black Africans and the influence of theories of scientific racism on the colonial encounter. Lorcin 1999 examines the development of racial categories in Algeria, focusing on the so-called Kabyle Myth that distinguished “civilized” Berbers from “barbaric” Arabs and the hybrid “neo-French” ethnicity developed to unify the polyglot settler population. White 1999 deals with perhaps the most vivid threat to colonial rigid categorization—mixed-raced children—and the attitude of French colonial officials toward them in AOF. Demography, as Kateb 2001 demonstrates, was essential for colonial administrations wishing to know the populations they aimed to control. The essays in Vatin 1984 provide an excellent overview of the relationship between power and different forms of social-scientific knowledge in French North Africa. Sibeud 2002 focuses on links between the rise of anthropology as a discipline and French colonization in Africa. Burke 2014 turns his attention to the sociology of religion and the French “invention” of the category of Moroccan Islam. He argues that ethnography played a critical role in shaping and legitimizing the French protectorate in Morocco, but also advances the Saidian model of Orientalism by situating French ethnographic discourses within multiple historical contexts. The essays in Singaravélou 2008 examine the fields of geography and cartography as pillars of French colonial expansion that served as both symbolic assertions of power and practical tools of domination. Blais 2014 advances our understanding of colonial cartography by emphasizing its practical and epistemological limitations.

                                                                                                                            • Blais, Hélène. Mirages de la carte: l’invention de l’Algérie coloniale. Paris: Fayard, 2014.

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                                                                                                                              A fine-grained study of French cartography in Algeria as critical to the discursive and physical appropriation of Algeria as a colonial territory. Pays welcome attention to the uncertainties facing mapmakers in unfamiliar, often hostile places, and to the limitations of colonial cartographic knowledge.

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                                                                                                                              • Burke, Edmund III. Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014.

                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520273818.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                An important archival study of French ethnographies of Moroccan Islam and their influence in the policies of the French protectorate and postcolonial Moroccan state. Innovative in its attention to international, as well as local and imperial contexts, it will be useful for advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers.

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                                                                                                                                • Cohen, William. The French Encounter with Africans. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1980.

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                                                                                                                                  This classic study examines French knowledge about and attitudes toward black Africans from the 16th century to the colonial period. Still relevant despite its age, the book provides an excellent basis for understanding the relationship between scientific assumptions and colonialism in the French context from the early modern era through the development of scientific racism in the 19th century.

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                                                                                                                                  • Kateb, Kamel. Européens, “indigènes” et juifs en Algérie (1830–1920): représentations et réalités des populations. Paris: INED, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                    A detailed study of both the methods of French colonial demography and the demographics of colonial Algeria, this book is especially valuable to advanced students and specialists as the most reliable available source of demographic data for the early colonial period.

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                                                                                                                                    • Lorcin, Patricia M. E. Imperial Identities: Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Race in Colonial Algeria. Society and Culture in the Modern Middle East. London: I. B. Taurus, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                      An influential intellectual history of the construction of racial stereotypes of Arabs, Kabyles, and Europeans by French officers, administrators, and researchers in 19th-century Algeria. Accessible to advanced undergraduates as well as specialists.

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                                                                                                                                      • Sibeud, Emmanuelle. Une science impériale pour l’Afrique? La construction des savoirs africanistes en France en France (1878–1930). Paris: EHESS, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                        A study of the emergence of “Africanism” (African Studies) in France from the establishment of the Trocadéro Museum in 1878 to the creation of the Society of Africanists in 1930. Serves as an excellent starting point for those interested in French institutions that produced knowledge about colonial Africa.

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                                                                                                                                        • Singaravélou, Pierre, ed. L’empire des géographes: géographie, exploration et colonisation, XIXe-XXe siècle. Paris: Belin, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                          A volume of essays that provides Francophone readers an excellent introduction to the relationship between geographical knowledge and colonialism in areas in Africa and Asia under French colonial rule.

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                                                                                                                                          • Vatin, Jean-Claude, ed. Connaissances du Maghreb: sciences sociales et colonisation. Paris: CNRS, 1984.

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                                                                                                                                            A collection of important early forays into the study of social science as complicit in French colonialism in North Africa.

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                                                                                                                                            • White, Owen. Children of the French Empire: Miscegenation and Colonial Society in French West Africa, 1895–1960. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198208198.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Explores the lives and identities of mixed-race children in AOF in the context of racial theories of the time and colonial policies in the areas of citizenship and education. Offers valuable insights into the frequent contradictions between racial theories and colonial practices and the difficulty of preserving clear boundaries between colonizers and colonized.

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                                                                                                                                              Religious Encounters

                                                                                                                                              Religion played a critical role in shaping colonial relations in French Africa, where confessional differences structured both French attitudes to African populations and African responses to colonization. Perceived by the French as the most overtly politicized faith in North and West Africa, Islam (and especially prominent Sufi orders) has garnered by far the lion’s share of scholarly attention. Harrison 1988 provides an excellent overview of the development of French policy toward African Islam, tracing the transfer and transformation of colonial ideas from North to West Africa. Trumbull 2009 is an excellent study of French conceptions of Algerian Islam that emphasizes the importance of administrator-scholars’ social networks, personal experiences, and administrative responsibilities. Robinson 2000 focuses on the role of Muslim leaders and institutions in shaping African responses to colonial rule in AOF, while Clancy-Smith 1994 places Sufi brotherhoods at the center of Maghrebi resistance and adaptation to colonial rule. Babou 2007 completes Harrison and Robinson by applying their insights the only sub-Saharan Sufi order, the Muridiyya. French attitudes toward Christianity were equally complex, especially after the Third Republic adopted a policy of strident state secularism in 1905. Africans’ non-Christianity was taken as a sign of barbarism, but evangelization was viewed with great ambivalence, as well. Early-21st-century scholarship on missionaries in French Africa is well represented by the essays in White and Daughton 2012, which emphasize ideological tensions between missionaries and colonial states, as well as the importance of local dynamics in relations between them. In the Maghreb, significant Jewish minorities occupied an ambiguous position under French colonial rule. Considered simultaneously natives and outsiders, Jews were cast as more apt to assimilate than Arabs into colonial racial hierarchies but were also subject to virulent anti-Semitism. Schreier 2010 offers the most sophisticated account of relations between Jews and the French colonial state in Algeria, arguing that Algerian Jewish leaders used the language of the civilizing mission to negotiate the changes the French sought to impose on them. Benichou Gottreich and Schroeter 2011 offers an excellent introduction to recent scholarship Jews across the Maghreb that challenges traditional views of North African Jews as outsiders, highlighting their integral role in local communities and close relationships with their Muslim and European neighbors. Although African traditional religions are dominant on the continent, little has been written about their encounters with French colonial rule. Baum 2004 is one of the few to tackle this complex issue by examining the French approach to secret societies among the Diola of southern Senegal.

                                                                                                                                              • Babou, Cheikh Anta. Fighting the Greater Jihad: Amadu Bamba and the Founding of the Muridiyya of Senegal, 1853–1913. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                A study examining the only Sufi order that originated in sub-Saharan Africa: the Murridiya of Cheick Amadou Bamba, based in Senegal. The book explores the order’s evolution from resistance to accommodation of French colonial rule.

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                                                                                                                                                • Baum, Robert. “Crimes of the Dream World: French Trials of Diola Witches in Colonial Senegal.” International Journal of African Historical Studies 37.2 (2004): 201–228.

                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.2307/4129007Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                  A rare examination of the encounter between French colonial judicial and administrative officials and African witchcraft beliefs, highlighting colonial authorities’ deep misunderstanding of African interpretation of witchcraft.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Benichou Gottreich, Emily, and Daniel J. Schroeter, eds. Jewish Culture and Society in North Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                    An excellent collection of essays reflecting current research on North African Jewish history, with an emphasis on the colonial period.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Clancy-Smith, Julia. Rebel and Saint: Muslim Notables, Populist Protest, Colonial Encounters (Algeria and Tunisia, 1800–1904). Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                      A deeply researched, nuanced, and accessible analysis of Sufi orders in the ern Maghreb and their responses to French invasion and colonization. Essential reading for students and specialists alike.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Harrison, Christopher. France and Islam in West Africa. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

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                                                                                                                                                        Exploring the principal stages in the development of French colonial policy toward Islam, this study demonstrates how it eventually created a perception of African Islam as distinct from Islam in the Arab world. An essential read for anyone interested in understanding France’s often complex and contradictory policies toward African Islam.

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                                                                                                                                                        • Robinson, David. Paths of Accommodation: Muslim Societies and French Colonial Authorities in Senegal and Mauritania, 1880–1920. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                          A study of the early encounters of West African Muslim societies with French colonial rule, their varied responses to colonization, and the ways in which Islamic leaders used the colonial new state to their own benefit.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Schreier, Joshua. Arabs of the Jewish Faith: The Civilizing Mission in Algeria. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                            A clear, sophisticated study of the relationship between the French colonial state and Jewish communities in Algeria. Especially strong on the responses of local Jewish leaders to French “civilizing” efforts and their savvy use of the civilizing mission rhetoric in negotiating with the colonizers for control over religious institutions, schools, marriage, and family.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Trumbull, George R. IV. An Empire of Facts: Colonial Power, Cultural Knowledge, and Islam in Algeria, 1870–1914. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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                                                                                                                                                              A cultural history of French ethnographic texts about Algerian Islam that pays welcome attention to the personal relationships, investigatory practices, and narrative strategies of the low-level colonial officials responsible for producing ethnographic knowledge.

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                                                                                                                                                              • White, Owen, and J. P. Daughton, eds. In God’s Empire: French Missionaries and the Modern World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

                                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396447.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                An edited volume examining the complex relations between missionaries, the French empire, and modernity. Numerous chapters dealing with Africa focus on the distinct goals of missionaries who operated in the French empire, which often differed from those of colonial states.

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                                                                                                                                                                Colonial Identities

                                                                                                                                                                The resurgence of scholarly interest in French colonial history in the 1990s coincided with a growing interest in the question of identity: that is, how people defined themselves individually and collectively in relationship to others. Historians of colonialism argued that French colonialism, in transforming social, political, and economic institutions, also brought about important changes in the cultural frameworks through which people constructed their own identities. Martin 1995 is an engaging study of African leisure activities and their role in forging new urban identities that combined French and African elements in colonial Brazzaville (Congo). Jones 2013 focuses on the mixed-race elite of the towns of coastal Senegal, tracing the political influence they gained as intermediaries between colonizer and colonized. Genova 2004 and Wilder 2005 focus on the Négritude movement that emerged among West African intellectuals in the interwar period. Genova emphasizes the ambivalence of the position occupied by the Western-educated African elite in AOF, while Wilder sees Négritude’s valorization of African cultures as key in the emergence of a new, more “humanistic” vision of empire after the First World War. Gellner and Micaud 1972 offers the best introduction to the critical question of tensions between Arab and Berber identities in North Africa. Wyrtzen 2011 turns away from the urban contexts that have dominated examinations of the identity question in North Africa to study changes in Berber collective identities in rural Morocco. Rahem 2008 is a revealing study of the disintegration of the “tribe” in eastern Algeria that challenges modernist disdain for “traditional” identities. See also Colonial Categories and Forms of Knowledge.

                                                                                                                                                                • Gellner, Ernest, and Charles Micaud, eds. Arabs and Berbers: From Tribe to Nation in North Africa. Lexington, MA: Lexington Books, 1972.

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                                                                                                                                                                  A still-influential collection of essays that remains the best starting place on Arab and Berber identities from the pre- to postcolonial periods.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • Genova, James E. Colonial Ambivalence, Cultural Authenticity, and the Limits of Mimicry in French-Ruled West Africa, 1914–1956. New York: Peter Lang, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Exploring the African Western-educated elite in AOF and its ambivalent position between colonizer and colonized, this study sheds light on the centrality of cultural questions in the politics of the federation.

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                                                                                                                                                                    • Jones, Hilary. The Métis of Senegal: Urban Life and Politics in French West Africa. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013.

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                                                                                                                                                                      An examination of the history and politics of mixed-race people in the coastal cities of colonial Senegal and served as middlemen for European merchants. The book follows the rise of their political influence as local elites during the colonial period.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • Martin, Phyllis. Leisure and Society in Colonial Brazzaville. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

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                                                                                                                                                                        Based on written and oral sources, this book examines the leisure activities of Africans under colonial rule in Brazzaville (French Congo), how they created social networks and forged new identities.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Rahem, Karim. Le sillage de la tribu: imaginaires politiques et histoire en Algérie (1843–1993). Paris: Riveneuve, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                          A sensitive historical and ethnographic study of the changing status of the tribu (tribe) in administrative and cultural terms from the colonial to the postcolonial periods.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Wilder, Gary. The French Nation-State: Negritude and Colonial Humanism Between the Two World Wars. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Examining the multifaceted aspects of the Paris-based Négritude movement, this dense, theoretically informed study argues that France must be understood as an imperial nation-state. Although the book focuses more on the imperial dimension of interwar France, it offers a complex interpretation of a reformist colonial ideology that was largely inspired by Western-educated Africans who lived under French colonial rule.

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Wyrtzen, Jonathan. “Colonial State-Building and the Negotiation of Arab and Berber Identity in Protectorate Morocco.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 43.2 (2011): 227–249.

                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/S0020743811000043Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                              This article offers a creative analysis of transformations in rural Berber identity in Morocco based on Tamazight poetry.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Women, Gender, and Sexuality

                                                                                                                                                                              Gender and sexuality were central to the negotiation of colonial relationships in all modern European empires, and women played important roles in imperialism, despite its apparently masculine character. As the essays in Clancy-Smith and Gouda 1998 show, ideas about African gender relations helped to legitimate and structure colonization, and European and African women worked to advance, reverse, or maneuver within French imperial projects. Rogers 2013 is a unique full-length biography of a French woman who established a school for Arab girls in 19th-century Algiers, acting on gendered ideas about both Muslim Algerian society and the civilizing power of French women. Sexual relationships between European men and non-European women were a standard feature of colonial encounters in French Africa, and often a source of deep anxiety. Taraud 2003 focuses on the regulation of prostitution as a means of regulating gender and racial boundaries in the Maghreb, concluding that the colonial sex trade was racialized and exploitative but also created intermediate spaces of cultural contact between colonizer and colonized. Colonization disrupted and led to re-orderings of gender relations within colonized societies. Lazreg 1994 is a theoretical attempt to locate the agency of Algerian women doubly silenced by French colonizers and male nationalists. Bakalti 2000 offers a contrasting interpretation of colonization as sparking the process that brought Tunisian women into public life, culturally, politically, and economically, culminating in the liberal personal status code introduced after independence. Osborn 2011 proposes a gendered history of politics in the West African state of Kankan-Baté, adopting a long-term chronology to chart dramatic transformations introduced by French colonization into the relationship between the household and an increasingly masculinized state. Jean-Baptiste 2014 examines conjugal relations as an arena in which colonial power relations were negotiated, highlighting the porous borders of both French and African identities.

                                                                                                                                                                              • Bakalti, Souad. La femme tunisienne au temps de la colonisation, 1881–1956. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                A thorough overview of the changing status of Tunisian women in the colonial period, tracing their changing political, educational, and economic status.

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                                                                                                                                                                                • Clancy-Smith, Julia, and Frances Gouda, eds. Domesticating the Empire: Race, Gender, and Family Life in French and Dutch Colonialism. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1998.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  This influential volume includes a number of important essays about the role of gender and women, both French and indigenous, in French colonialism in North and West Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                  • Jean-Baptiste, Rachel. Conjugal Rights: Marriage, Sexuality, and Urban Life in Colonial Libreville, Gabon. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    An innovative study of marriage, conjugal relations, and sexuality as a critical arena in which French colonizers, African authorities, and inhabitants of Libreville negotiated the boundaries of colonial power.

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                                                                                                                                                                                    • Lazreg, Marnia. The Eloquence of Silence: Algerian Women in Question. London: Routledge, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      A deeply theoretical feminist analysis of the position of Algerian women in the colonial and postcolonial periods, important for gender studies approaches to North African women’s history.

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                                                                                                                                                                                      • Osborn, Emily Lynn. Our New Husbands Are Here: Households, Gender and Politics in a West African State from the Slave Trade to Colonial Rule. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        A creative study of changing relations between households and political power in the region of French Guinea from precolonial times to the colonial period. Based on archival, manuscript, and oral sources, it shows how French colonization imposed a European model of separate gendered spheres, separating the household from the state and masculinizing politics in the process.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        • Rogers, Rebecca. A Frenchwoman’s Imperial Story: Madame Luce in Nineteenth Century Algeria. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804784313.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                          A highly readable biography of a French woman and the school she founded in Algiers. Well suited to students and specialists alike.

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                                                                                                                                                                                          • Taraud, Christelle. La prostitution coloniale: Algérie, Tunisie, Maroc (1830–1962). Paris: Payot, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            A widely researched, readable study of prostitution as a key site of cultural contact and women as important intermediaries between colonizer and colonized across French North Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                            Colonial Armies and Colonial Troops

                                                                                                                                                                                            Research on conscription and military service in French Africa is gaining scholarly momentum due to recent public debates over the treatment of African veterans of the two world wars. A study of the iconic West African regiments known as the tirailleurs sénégalais from their founding through independence, Echenberg 1991 provides the point of departure for later works. Also older but useful is Clayton 1988, which describes the French army’s sub-Saharan and North African units and their participation in the wars of the 20th century. Considerably less serious scholarly attention has been given to North African troops. The chapters of Gershovich 2000 devoted to Moroccan service in the French army are the best available work on this topic. More recent studies pay greater attention to African soldiers’ experiences of wartime service, especially in the First World War, which saw significant mobilization of West African forces in the European theater. Based on oral interviews with African veterans of the First World War, Lunn 1999 is an invaluable analysis of African perspectives on the war. Michel 2003 also examines Africans’ deployment in the First World War, focusing on its broader effects on French territories in sub-Saharan Africa. Mann 2006 takes both local and transnational perspectives, highlighting the concept of “debt” in West African soldiers’ relations to the French Army. Fogarty 2008 uses the French army’s mobilization of colonial troops, including those from North and sub-Saharan Africa, in the First World War, to shed light on French conceptions of race and national identity. African participation in the Second World War and in French colonial wars is a new but rapidly growing subject for research. Scheck 2014 makes notable use of German sources in examining the experiences of sub-Saharan and North African prisoners of war in Nazi Germany and the Germans’ contradictory policies toward French-African soldiers. Bâ 2012 turns to the complex question of colonial troops’ role in French wars of conquest and decolonization, focusing on West African troops’ participation in the conquest and occupation of Madagascar and the repression of the Malagasy revolt of 1947.

                                                                                                                                                                                            • Bâ, Amadou. Les “Sénégalais” à Madagascar: militaires ouest-africains dans la conquête de la grande île (1895–1960). Paris: L’Harmattan, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              The only comprehensive study of the French employment of African colonial soldiers in Madagascar, where they played a key role in conquering the island, maintaining order, and then brutally repressing the Malagasy revolt of 1947.

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                                                                                                                                                                                              • Clayton, Anthony. France, Soldiers and Africa. London and New York: Brassey’s Defence, 1988.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                A study of the French military system in the colonial context. The book examines in detail the forces, including indigenous troops, active in French Africa throughout the colonial period.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                • Echenberg, Myron. Colonial Conscripts: The Tirailleurs Sénégalais in French West Africa, 1857–1960. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  The first study of African colonial soldiers in the French army, written when this important subject was seriously understudied. The book examines the experiences of these soldiers from the inception of the corps through the two world wars to its dissolution upon independence. It shows how tirailleurs’ service reflected the most basic contradictions of French colonialism.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Fogarty, Richard. Race and War in France: Colonial Subjects in the French Army. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    A thorough study of French colonial soldiers, including sub-Saharan and North Africans, in the First World War, exploring the reflection of French conceptions of race and national identity in attitudes and policies directed at these soldiers.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Gershovich, Moshe. French Military Rule in Morocco: Colonialism and Its Consequences. London: Frank Cass, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      The concluding chapters of this overview of the French protectorate are devoted to the recruitment and service of Moroccan troops in the French army.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Lunn, Joe. Memoirs of the Maelstrom: A Senegalese Oral History of the First World War. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        Based on oral interview with African veterans, the book examines the impact of the First World War on West Africans. It offers critical insights into the experience of Africans overseas and how it changed their previous attitudes about themselves, their societies, and the French.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Mann, Gregory. Native Sons: West African Veterans and France in the Twentieth Century. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1215/9780822387817Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                          The best way to understand the historical background of the complex ongoing relations between France and its African veterans taking us from French Sudan (nowadays Mali) to various parts of the French empire in which soldiers had served.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Michel, Marc. Les Africains et la Grande Guerre: l’appel à l’Afrique (1914–1918). Paris: Karthala, 2003.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            A comprehensive study of the impact of the First World War on French-ruled Africa. The book discusses recruitment and combat experiences of Africans, revolts and economic consequences in Africa, the aftermath of the war and the question of memory.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Scheck, Raffael. French Colonial Soldiers in German Captivity During World War II. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781107297869Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                              A study of the treatment of sub-Saharan and North African soldiers by the Germans from the beginning of the Second World War to the liberation of France. Based on French and German archives, it explores and explains changes in German attitudes toward the prisoners in different places and stages of the war.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                              Environment

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Colonial warfare, economic transformations, and demographic change all had dramatic impacts on African environments, which in turn had further economic, social, and demographic consequences. One branch of the rapidly growing field of colonial environmental studies focuses on practical and epistemological conflicts over the character and stewardship of land and natural resources. Davis 2007 is an exemplary study of French “declensionist narratives” about Arab mismanagement and neglect of Algerian land as critical justification for its appropriation and “improvement” by European settlers. Prochaska 1986 examines the political struggles generated by Algerians’ use of fire to clear land for cultivation, which the French viewed as destructive and seditious. Scholars of sub-Saharan Africa have engaged environmental questions from the perspective of development and debates about the relationship between population density, poverty, and ecological change. Fairhead and Leach 1996 is an important intervention showing that colonial and neo-colonial narratives of deforestation in Guinea were simply wrong: Africans created and tended forest islands in the savanna, making population growth compatible with ecological enhancement rather than an inevitable source of degradation. Scholars of North Africa are turning new attention to the critical question of water. Guerin 2015 shows how control of water resources became a catalyst for popular politics in Morocco. Pritchard 2012 proposes the term “hydroimperialism” to describe the power relations and expansionist mind-set inherent in French hydrological studies and policies in Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. Her attention to the role of settler colonization efforts in French hydrology, including dam building and irrigation, highlights a second approach to the environment in French colonial contexts, which focus on the impact of colonial climates on European colonizers in Africa. Osborne 1994 is a clear, readable study of French acclimatization science and the importance of French settler colonial ambitions in North Africa in shaping it. Jennings 2006 traces anxieties about acclimatization through the network of colonial spas frequented by French colonists and colonial officials, including important sites in Madagascar and Tunisia.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Davis, Diana. Resurrecting the Granary of Rome: Environmental History and French Colonial Expansion in North Africa. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                A sophisticated and admirably clear analysis of French narratives of North African environmental history and their role in justifying French colonization.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Fairhead, James, and Melissa Leach. Misreading the African Landscape: Society and Ecology in a Forest-Savannah Mosaic. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9781139164023Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A pioneering, historically informed ethnography of ecological understandings in Guinea that challenges colonialist and development condemnations of indigenous agricultural and resource management practices.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Guerin, Adam. “‘Not a drop for the settlers’: Reimaginging Popular Protest and Anti-Colonial Nationalism in the Moroccan Protectorate.” Journal of North African History 20.2 (2015): 225–246.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1080/13629387.2014.917586Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A fascinating reinterpretation of water riots in Meknès, Morroco in 1937 as a local struggle for sovereignty over natural resources, rather than an expression of nationalist political ideology.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Jennings, Eric. Curing the Colonizers: Hydrotherapy, Climatology and French Colonial Spas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2006.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1215/9780822388272Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A highly readable study of French colonial spas, including key sites in Madagascar and Tunisia, based on French and overseas archives that will be appreciated by advanced undergraduates and graduate students alike.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Pritchard, Sara. “From Hydroimperialism to Hydrocapitalism: ‘French’ Hydraulics in France, North Africa, and Beyond.” Social Studies of Science 42.4 (2012): 591–615.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1177/0306312712443018Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A succinct and conceptually important analysis of French hydrological science and practice that traces the reciprocal influences between metropolitan France and colonial North Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Prochaska, David. “Fire on the Mountain: Resisting Colonialism in Algeria.” In Banditry, Rebellion, and Social Protest in Africa. Edited by Donald Crummey, 229–252. London: James Currey, 1986.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          An important article about violent struggles over French efforts to stamp out Algerians’ use of fire to clear agricultural land in the late 19th century.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Osborne, Michael. Nature, the Exotic, and the Science of French Colonialism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A straightforward, institutional history of the Jardin d’acclimatation zoologique in Paris, its role in the development of French acclimatization theory, and its relationship to French colonialism, especially settler colonialism in Algeria, in the 19th century.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Migrants, Migrations, and Diasporas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Empires, as recent histories have emphasized, function as systems for moving people, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, on a global scale, with dramatic effects on both sending and receiving societies, as well as on migrants themselves. French-ruled Africa was no exception. Histories of colonial migration within French Africa initially focused on the ways that French imperialism moved people—millions of soldiers, conscripted laborers, and economic migrants—out of sub-Saharan Africa and the Maghreb to Europe and the Americas. Recent scholarship has begun to pay greater attention to other axes and directions of movement, from metropole to colony, between colonies within the French empire, and between the French and other empires. The settler societies created by European emigration to Africa, especially the French territories in the Maghreb, are the subject of a separate but growing body of research.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Colonial Migrations and Diasporas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Because of the heated political debates surrounding immigration from the former colonies in contemporary France, migrations from colony to metropole have dominated scholarly interest in colonial migration in French Africa. MacMaster 1997 is the standard account of Algerian migration to France during the colonial period, which pays welcome attention to economic “push” factors within colonial Algeria and challenges assumptions that Algerian immigration is a postcolonial phenomenon. Also emphasizing the pre-independence origins of Algerian migration to France, the essays in Sayad 2004 offer the most powerful analysis of the sociology of Algerian migration as an ongoing, long-term, historically situated process. Thomas 2007 examines sub-Saharan African immigrants in 20th-century France, with an emphasis on their role in creating a transnational modern French culture. Boittin 2010 examines encounters between colonial migrants and the French feminist movement in interwar Paris. More recently, scholars have begun to challenge the nation-state framework that has dominated studies of colonial migration and to look instead at other axes, whether regional, intra-imperial, or inter-imperial, along which people moved through and into French Africa. Schler 2008 studies one neighborhood in the city of Duala, Cameroon, showing how regional migration created a multi-ethnic community with a distinct outsider identity. Clancy-Smith 2011 takes the Mediterranean Sea as a migratory region, focusing on Tunisia as one node in network that was influenced by French colonialism but transcended colonial borders. Hélénon 2011 considers movement between French colonies in the case of French Antilleans who served in the French colonial administration in both federations of sub-Saharan Africa. Arsan 2014 is an innovative study of Lebanese migrants in the AOF and the social, economic, and cultural influence of these inter-imperial migrants in French West Africa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Arsan, Andrew. Interlopers of Empire: The Lebanese Diaspora in French West Africa. London: Hurst, 2014.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199333387.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The first study of the Lebanese community in AOF from the colonial period through independence, focusing not only on their economic importance but also on their political and social activities.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Boittin, Jennifer Anne. Colonial Metropolis: The Urban Grounds of Anti-Imperialism and Feminism in Interwar Paris. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                An innovative examination of the colonial migrant community, including a large number of Africans, and their interaction with white feminists in interwar Paris. This study shows how French colonialism shaped the capital’s political, social, and cultural life.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Clancy-Smith, Julia. Mediterraneans: North Africa and Europe in an Age of Migration, c. 1800–1900. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A path-breaking study of Tunisia as one node in a long-term, trans-Mediterranean migratory network.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Hélénon, Véronique. French Caribbeans in Africa: Diasporic Connections and Colonial Administration, 1880–1939. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1057/9780230118751Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Based on administrative reports and oral histories, this is the first full-length study of Caribbean migrants in French colonial Africa and their role in the colonial administration. Sheds light on the complex relations within this diaspora and between its members and French colonial power.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • MacMaster, Neil. Colonial Migrants and Racism: Algerians in France, 1900–1962. New York: St. Martin’s, 1997.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1057/9780230371255Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A classic work that is the standard point of departure for the study colonial-era migration from Algeria to France. Links colonial and metropolitan policies and migrants’ experiences on both sides of the Mediterranean.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Sayad, Abdelmalek. The Suffering of the Immigrant. Translated by David Macey. Malden, MA: Polity, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A collection of essays based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork with multiple generations of migrants and communities on both sides of the Mediterranean, summarizing the author’s essential work on Algerian migration to France for students and specialists alike. Originally published as La double absence: des illusions de l’émigré aux souffrances de l’immigré (1999).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Schler, Lynn. The Strangers of New Bell: Immigration, Public Space and Community in Colonial Duala, Cameroon, 1914–1960. Pretoria, South Africa: UNISA, 2008.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          An ethnographic study of the “outsider” identity and solidarity that developed among regional migrants in a marginalized neighborhood of the colonial city.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Thomas, Dominique Richard David. Black France: Colonialism, Immigration and Transnationalism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Explores how African colonial migration shaped metropolitan French as well as global culture. The book contributes to our understanding of the shifting boundaries between “French” and “immigrant” in the colonial and postcolonial periods.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Settler Societies

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In the literature on settler societies in French Africa, Algeria has captured the lion’s share of attention. Prochaska 1990 remains the standard account of French settler colonialism in Algeria, focusing on the economic, political, and cultural life of the city of Bône (today Annaba). Gosnell 2002 focuses on the question of national identity in French Algeria, emphasizing the heterogeneity of the colony’s European settler population, as well as the political and cultural exclusion of Arab and Berber subjects from the French nation. Sessions 2011 charts the political and cultural origins of French settler colonialism in Algeria and the sociology of the first waves of European emigrants to the nascent colony in the mid-19th century. Andersen 2012 and Kalman 2013 are representative of a new wave of interest in settler politics in French North Africa. The essays in Slyomovics and Stein 2012 represent the exciting work being done on the place of Jews in Algerian settler society. Smith 2006 is one of the best of numerous studies of collective memory and nostalgia among the pieds-noirs, former settlers who fled North Africa after independence. Cruise O’Brien 1972 remains one of the only studies of French colonists in sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on the largest French settlement in the region, in Dakar, Senegal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Andersen, Margaret Cook. “French Settlers, Familial Suffrage, and Citizenship in 1920s Tunisia.” Journal of Family History 37.2 (April 2012): 213–231.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1177/0363199011432993Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A concise analysis of settler agitation for electoral reform that is one of the few considerations of settler politics in protectorate Tunisia.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Cruise O’Brien, Rita. White Society in Black Africa: The French of Senegal. London: Faber and Faber, 1972.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A historical and sociological study of French society in Senegal and their relations with Africans, focusing on Dakar where most of the French lived, from the colonial period to independence.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Gosnell, Jonathan K. The Politics of Frenchness in Colonial Algeria, 1930–1954. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A readable history of discourses of “French” identity in interwar French Algeria that considers the colony’s European settlers as well as the Arab and Berber populations.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Kalman, Samuel. French Colonial Fascism: The Extreme Right in Algeria, 1919–1939. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1057/9781137307095Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A detailed, archival study of the virulent far-right movement in interwar Algeria.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Prochaska, David. Making Algeria French: Colonialism in Bône, 1870–1920. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A straightforward and important portrait of French settler colonialism in Bône (now Annaba), notable for its heavy use of municipal archives still located in Annaba.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Sessions, Jennifer. By Sword and Plow: France and the Conquest of Algeria. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2011.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A cultural history of the origins of French settler colonialism in Algeria, based on visual, literary, and archival sources.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Slyomovics, Susan, and Sarah Stein, eds. Special Issue: Jews and French Colonialism in Algeria. Journal of North African Studies 17.5 (2012).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1080/13629387.2012.723427Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A collection of essays representative of recent scholarship on the position of Jews within Algerian colonial society.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Smith, Andrea. Colonial Memory and Postcolonial Europe: Maltese Settlers in Algeria and France. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            An essential study of former French-Algerian settlers of Maltese origin, combining historical analysis of their marginalization during the colonial period with a detailed ethnography of their collective memory after leaving Algeria at independence.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Decolonization

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Although the decolonization processes in sub-Saharan and North Africa were related, most studies treat the two regions separately because of the different paths they followed to independence. Decolonization largely came about through peaceful means in sub-Saharan Africa, where colonial territories were first offered a looser relationship with France within the short-lived French Union (1946–1958) and then, for the most part, negotiated their withdrawal from its successor, the French Community. In the Maghreb, Tunisia and Morocco forced the French to negotiate independence in the 1950s, but the drawn-out brutal Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962) largely overshadows these processes, generating a massive amount of scholarship in the process.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sub-Saharan Africa

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Second World War is widely considered a turning point in the history of French rule in Africa, inadvertently ushering in a process that resulted in the demise of the French empire. Ginio 2006, dealing with Vichy rule in AOF and Jennings 2014, focusing on the Free French in AEF, are essential to understanding the ways in which the war encouraged social and political processes that pressured the French to reform colonial rule even before its official end. Ageron and Michel 1992 offer a comprehensive overview of political developments in sub-Saharan Africa in the years leading to independence. Chafer 2002 focuses on the federation of AOF, emphasizing the French inability to control events and presenting so-called reforms as emergency responses by the colonizers to changing realities in the metropolitan, colonial, and international arenas. Cooper 1996 and the more recent Cooper 2014 challenge predominant views of anti-colonial nationalist movements as leading inexorably to decolonization and call upon scholars to pay more attention to other postwar alternatives to national independence, which were eventually supplanted by the national solution. While Cooper 1996 deals with decolonization through the prism of trade union struggles in AOF, Cooper 2014 examines critical, if ultimately unsuccessful efforts by French and African leaders to create an inclusive imperial citizenship within a federal French system. Schmidt 2005 offers a unique perspective on decolonization by including gender in her study of the anti-colonial movement in French Guinea, the only colony that rejected autonomy within the framework of the Franco-African Community in favor of immediate independence in 1958. The violent decolonization process in Madagascar is best illustrated in Arazalier and Suret-Canale 1999. Thomas 2014 adopts a comparative perspective, thus allowing the reader to understand the process of decolonization in both sub-Saharan and North French ruled Africa in a global context.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Ageron, Charles-Robert, and Marc Michel, eds. L’Afrique noire française: l’heure des indépendances. Paris: CNRS, 1992.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This edited collection examines the decolonization of the French empire in sub-Saharan Africa from varied perspectives, considering internal factors, French policy, and international catalysts, as well as comparison to decolonization processes in British colonial Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Arazalier, Francis, and Jean Suret-Canale, eds. Madagascar 1947: la tragédie oubliée. Paris: Le Temps des Cérises, 1999.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Together, the essays in this edited volume provide a comprehensive examination of the Madagascar revolt and its repression, including the emergence of the Malagasy nationalist movement, the repression of the revolt, and the trials of Malagasy political leaders in France. The scarcity of research on decolonization in Madagascar makes this a vital resource for those interested in the subject.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Chafer, Tony. The End of Empire in French West Africa, 1936–60: France’s Successful Decolonization? Oxford: Berg, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Contests the idea that decolonization in AOF was smooth and successful by thoroughly examining the political processes in the federation after WWII. Dividing the period into three main stages, it shows both the unplanned character of French political reforms and the variety of African attitudes toward decolonization, which ranged from struggles for equality within a French framework to demands for total independence.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Cooper, Frederick. Decolonization and African Society: The Labor Question in French and British West Africa. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511584091Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Examining decolonization in AOF from the perspective of workers’ protests, this groundbreaking study demonstrates the alternatives to nationalism that existed in this part of the French empire before they were finally set aside by the advocates of independence.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Cooper, Frederick. Citizenship between Empire and Nation: Remaking France and French Africa, 1945–1960. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1515/9781400850280Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      An analysis of the end of empire in French Africa that rejects the centrality of nationalism and demonstrates that decolonization was punctuated by attempts to invent alternatives to empire that would maintain a strong connection between France and its African territories. Looking at French and African redefinitions of central notions as citizenship, empire, nation, and federation, the book offers a new reading of the meaning of decolonization.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Ginio, Ruth. French Colonialism Unmasked: The Vichy Years in French West Africa. Lincoln: Nebraska University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A study of the French empire’s place in Vichy ideology and the political, social, economic, and cultural aspects of Vichy’s colonial policy in French West Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Jennings, Eric. La France libre fut africaine. Paris: Perrin, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          A study of French Equatorial Africa during the Second World War. The book shows that this region was militarily and economically crucial for Charles De Gaulle’s Free French Forces.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Schmidt, Elizabeth. Mobilizing the Masses: Gender, Ethnicity, and Class in the Nationalist Movement in Guinea, 1939–1958. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2005.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A study of the nationalist struggle in French Guinea under the leadership of Sékou Touré. Unique for its attention to gender.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Thomas, Martin. Fight or Flight: Britain, France, and Their Roads from Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              A comprehensive, comparative analysis of decolonization in the British and French empires focusing on the colonizers’ perspective and factors in their decision to leave or stay and fight in specific colonies. One advantage of the book, in addition to the wide comparative framework it offers, is the brilliantly coherent summary of complex subjects such as the Algerian War or the French policy in West Africa.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              North Africa: The Protectorates

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Although the Algerian War has tended to overshadow the processes of decolonization in Morocco and Tunisia, there are still important lessons to be learned from the nationalist movements that forced the French to restore sovereignty in the protectorates. Vermeren 2002 is a general description of Tunisian and Moroccan nationalist elites during and after the colonial period. Zisenwine 2010 is one of the few focused studies of Istiqlal, the independence party in post–Second World War Morocco, while Mechat 2002 is the best analysis of the split within Tunisia’s Destourian movement that made the Neo-Destour party the face of independence there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Mechat, Samya El. Le nationalisme tunisien: scission et conflits. Paris: L’Harmattan, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                An incisive study of the divisions within the Tunisian nationalist movement and their impact on the process of decolonization in the protectorate.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Vermeren, Pierre. La formation des élites marocaines et tunisiennes. Des nationalistes aux islamistes, 1920–2000. Paris: La Découverte, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A comparative overview of nationalist elites in Morocco and Tunisia that follows their developments from the colonial into the postcolonial period, with an emphasis on educational and social networks. A useful introduction for advanced undergraduates and graduate students.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Zisenwine, Daniel. The Emergence of Nationalist Politics in Morocco: The Rise of the Independence Party and the Struggle against Colonialism after World War II. London: I. B. Taurus, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    One of the few dedicated histories of the Istiqlal party and the rise of a pro-independence movement in Morocco.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The Algerian War

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The terrible violence of the war leading to Algerian independence has made the anticolonial struggle led by the National Liberation Front (FLN) the most visible decolonization process in the French Maghreb and an emblem of the brutality of colonial warfare worldwide. The literature on the Algerian War is vast and has played an important role in the difficult process of coming to terms with this traumatic period in French and Algerian history. Stora 2001 is a concise narrative history that offers an excellent starting point for study of the conflict, and Evans 2012 provides advanced students and specialists with a more in-depth synthetic analysis of both French and Algerian perspectives on the war. Branche 2001 is a pioneering study of the French army’s systematic use of torture in Algeria. Along with Thénault 2001, a path-breaking examination of the role of the French judiciary in facilitating and legitimizing human rights abuses in Algeria, it helped to spur public recognition of the atrocities committed by the French in repressing the Algerian revolt. House and MacMaster 2006 is a damning account of the brutal repression of nationalist activity in the metropole by French police, focused around the 17 October 1961 demonstrations crushed by the Paris police and their subsequent erasure from collective memory. Shepard 2006 is a rightly influential analysis of the Algerian Revolution as a French revolution in which a century-long process of making Algeria French had to be undone. Rahal 2010, in turn, examines the Algerian politics of decolonization, through the itinerary of a moderate, Francophone nationalist and the uses made of his memory following his murder by French paratroopers. Rejecting a strictly Franco-Algerian perspective in favor of the broader, global context of the Cold War, Connelly 2002 represents the leading edge of a new, internationalist approach to the Algerian War.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Branche, Raphaëlle. La torture et l’armée pendant la guerre d’Algérie. Paris: Gallimard, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A deeply researched and influential study of the institutionalization of torture by the French army in Algeria.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Connelly, Matthew. A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria’s Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        An essential study of the FLN’s diplomatic initiatives and their role in shaping the Cold War order, which has inspired a wave of interest in the international dimensions of the Algerian War.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Evans, Martin. Algeria: France’s Undeclared War. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          An excellent and readable account of the war. Considers both French and Algerian perspectives, highlighting the role of the French Socialist government of 1956–1957 in escalating the conflict.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • House, Jim, and Neil MacMaster. Paris 1961: Algerians, State Terror, and Memory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            A damning history of police violence against FLN militants and supporters in France, focused around pro-FLN demonstrations on 17 October 1961 that were brutally repressed by the Paris police, and the cover-up and then rediscovery of that repression in the ensuing decades. Highly readable, as well as an excellent introduction to the metropolitan theater of the Algerian War and the politics of collective memory of colonial violence.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Rahal, Malika. Ali Boumendjel (1919–1957). Une affaire française, une histoire algérienne. Paris: Les Belles Lettres, 2010.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              An engaging, deeply researched biographical study of a middle-class lawyer and member of the Union démocratique du Manifeste algérien (UDMA) murdered by the French in 1957. Boumendjel’s life, death, and appropriation by the FLN serve to illuminate the diversity of Algeria’s anticolonial movement, later effaced by the victorious FLN.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Shepard, Todd. The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A powerful cultural history of the unmaking of French Algeria and its impact on France. Especially compelling in its analysis of the process by which the citizenship status of Algeria’s Muslim, Jewish, and European populations was renegotiated legally and discursively.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Stora, Benjamin. Algeria: 1830–2000: A Short History. Translated by Jane Marie Todd. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A concise, narrative history devoted primarily to the War of Independence (1954–1962) and Algerian history since independence that offers undergraduate students an excellent introduction to this complex conflict.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Thénault, Sylvie. Une drôle de justice: les magistrats dans la guerre d’Algérie. Paris: La Découverte, 2001.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    A pioneering and rigorously empirical study of the French legal system’s role in the repression of Algerian nationalism and the resulting subversion of legality.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Critics of French Colonialism

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The primary sources presented here demonstrate the range of critical responses to French colonialism in the 20th century and show students and researchers alike the highly variable degree to which critics, French and African, rejected the basic assumptions and legitimacy of French rule. Shepard 2014 is a well-chosen selection of texts that puts Francophone anticolonial activists into global context for undergraduates. Londres 1929 is a vivid condemnation of the treatment of African colonial subjects in AOF by a prominent French journalist. Savineau 1937 is a unique collection of reports on French colonialism in West Africa by a technical advisor to the French Popular Front government who criticized education, health and economic policies, but did not oppose colonization per se. While some French critics were nonetheless imbued with paternalism and faith in a “benevolent” colonialism, many African and North African intellectuals refused the basic assumptions of colonialism in ways that have since informed the field of postcolonial studies. Fanon 2004 is a biting analysis of the existential violence of French colonialism in Algeria, which has since become both a manifesto for global anti-imperialism and a foundational text of postcolonial theory. Pontecorvo 2004 adopts Fanon’s theories in the most powerful cinematic depiction of the Algerian War, produced in cooperation with the newly independent Algerian government. Like Fanon, Memmi 1991 analyzes colonialism’s psychological effects on both colonized and colonizer, emphasizing the role of racism in shaping colonial identities and denouncing the promise of assimilation as illusory. By contrast, Senghor 1988 summarizes the philosophy of Négritude, which accepted the idea of a possible benefit from French culture but rejected the racist notion that African cultures were inferior to European ones. Feraoun 2000 offers students and specialists one of the most perceptive and moving eyewitness accounts of the Algerian War by a prominent French-educated Algerian teacher and journalist who shared much of Senghor’s spirit and was tragically assassinated for it by counterrevolutionary settler terrorists in 1962. One of several harrowing torture narratives that helped to turn French and international opinion against the Algerian War, de Beauvoir and Halimi 1962 is unique in highlighting the gender dynamics of French counterinsurgency tactics and the place of sexual violence in the repression in Algeria, as well as the role of women in the Algerian revolutionary movement and the particularities of French feminist engagement against the war.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • de Beauvoir, Simone, and Gisèle Halimi. Djamila Boupacha: The Story of the Torture of a Young Algerian Girl Which Shocked French Liberal Opinion. Translated by Peter Green. New York: Macmillan, 1962.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      A brutal description of the month-long ordeal of a female FLN militant beaten, tortured, and raped by French paratroopers, written by the feminist writer and lawyer who led the public and legal effort to free Boupacha from prison. Earlier published as Djamila Boupacha (1961).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      • Fanon, Franz. The Wretched of the Earth. Translated by Richard Philcox. New York: Grove, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A powerful indictment of the physical and psychological violence of colonialism, this volume remains essential reading for students and specialists. Earlier published as Les Damnés de la terre (1961).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        • Feraoun, Mouloud. Journal, 1955–1962: Reflections on the French-Algerian War. Edited by James Lesueur. Transated by Mary Ellen Wolf and Claude Fouillade. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          One of the most powerful chronicles of the Algerian War, from the perspective of a leading French-educated Algerian teacher and journalist who was assassinated by the radical pro-French Algeria settler Organisation armée secrète (OAS) in the spring of 1962.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          • Londres, Albert. A Very Naked People. Translated by Sylvia Stuart. New York: Liveright, 1929.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Based on a series of articles published in the Parisian daily, Le Petit Parisien, this book vividly describes French mistreatments of African colonial subjects in AOF and AEF, condemning colonial regimes of labor and taxation as a new form of the outlawed slave trade. Earlier published as Terre d’ébène: la traîte des noirs (Paris: Albin Michel, 1929)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Memmi, Albert. The Colonizer and the Colonized. Translated by Howard Greenfeld. Boston: Beacon, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Like Fanon, Memmi diagnoses the psychological damage inflicted on both colonized peoples and colonizers by colonialism, but focuses more closely on race than economic exploitation. Drawing on his own experience as a French-Tunisian Jew, he also considers the position of intermediary groups that did not fit neatly into either group, including poor whites and ethno-religious minorities, and the existential dilemma that colonial binaries posed for them. Earlier published as Portrait du colonisé précédé du portrait du colonisateur (Paris: Buchet/Chastel, 1957).

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              • Pontecorvo, Gillo, dir. La Battaglia d’Algieri/La Bataille d’Alger/The Battle of Algiers [1966]. DVD. Irvington, NY: Criterion Collection, 2004.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                A tremendously powerful film that vividly dramatizes the FLN’s vision of the nationalist struggle and French counterrevolutionary tactics during the urban warfare of 1957’s “Battle of Algiers.”

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                • Savineau, Denise. The Savineau Archive. 1937.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  A unique collection of translated reports to the Popular Front Government by a female education inspector sent to investigate the experiences of women and families living under French rule in West Africa. An excellent resource for students.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  • Senghor, Lėopold Sėdar. Ce que je crois: négritude, francité et civilisation de l’universel. Paris: Grasset, 1988.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Written well after the end of French colonial rule in Africa, this book summarizes the principles of Senghor’s vision of Nėgritude and the proper relations between French and African cultures.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Shepard, Todd. The Voices of Decolonization: A Brief History with Documents. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2014.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      An excellent collection of short primary documents that introduces students to the leading voices of anticolonial movements worldwide, putting French African experiences in global perspective.

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