This article addresses an area of French colonialism, specifically French Algeria, through the critical lens of Jean-Paul Sartre's theories on race and colonialism developed in Colonialism and Neocolonialism. I focus in particular on two key components of Sartre's critical commentary: first, the way in which French colonialism established practices that assigned full humanity only to the European colonizers; indigenous Muslim Arabs were systematically confined to the category of “sub-humans.” Second, my article examines in detail how promised reforms to colonial rule were consistently thwarted by practices mired in deception and fraud. Finally, I suggest that the application of liberal humanist principles in this colonial context was designed to create further inequality between Arabs and Europeans.
Nathalie Nya is a lecturer in Philosophy at John Carroll University who specializes in Social and Political Philosophy, Ethics, Feminist Philosophy, Critical Race Theory, and Post-Colonial Philosophy. Nya is the author of Simone de Beauvoir and the Colonial Experience: Freedom, Violence and Identity (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019), as well as articles on Simone de Beauvoir, Frantz Fanon and Jean-Paul Sartre. She is currently working on a manuscript titled French Ethics and the Concept of Freedom.