Empire by Example?

Deportees in France and Algeria and the Re-Making of a Modern Empire, 1846-1854

in French Politics, Culture & Society
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  • 1 University of Pittsburgh adelnore@gmail.com
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In 1847–1848, two well-publicized events ended in colonial and metropolitan deportees crisscrossing the Mediterranean between France and Algeria. In the first, Abd al-Qadir surrendered to French forces in the colony after a protracted resistance and was deported to the metropole in January 1848. Then, after the bloody reprisals of the June Days months later, the National Convention sentenced thousands of Parisian insurgents to “transportation,” eventually settling on Algeria as their destination. In both cases, the sentence of deportation seemed to satisfy both the penal and imperial goals of post-Revolutionary France: political stability, public order, and imperial expansion. But in practice, both episodes of deportation also heralded a new era. After 1854, the French government began consolidating punishment at the colonial peripheries while at the same time subjecting more individuals to deportation, signaling a shift in the relationship between colony and metropole that complemented emerging theories of crime and punishment.

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