Hannah Callaway, Alec G. Hargreaves, and John P. Murphy
Remembering and Forgetting Crémieux during the Franco-Algerian War
Jewish leaders during the Franco-Algerian War (1954–1962) drastically changed their statements on Jewish-Algerian identity, history, and status. Below, we examine this shift by analyzing their statements about Adolphe Crémieux, the namesake of the decree that gave Algerian Jews French citizenship in 1870. Between 1954 and 1962, Jewish leaders went from adulation to dismissal as they discussed the man and his legacy. Analyzing statements about Crémieux brings into sharp relief the Jews’ legal situation in Algeria, which arbitrarily changed at certain moments. A look at these statements also reveals the instability of the French colonial system in Algeria. The first part of this article argues that the Crémieux Decree—already fundational to Jewish-Algerian identity—took on a new importance after the Second World War into the 1950s. The second part looks at reversals in attitudes toward Crémieux a few years later.
Between 1900 and 1939, the French empire devoted increasing attention to the problems of hunger and famine in the colonies. Influenced by discoveries associated with the emerging science of nutrition and under pressure from international organizations such as the League of Nations, French colonial administrations accepted food security as their most basic responsibility to their territories overseas. French scientists and administrators applied nutritional insights first to individuals in the fight against deficiency disease, then to “races” in an attempt to increase labor productivity, and finally to colonial populations as a whole. But as increasingly sophisticated notions of nutrition and public health influenced colonial administration, it became clear that the lofty promises of nutrition science were empty in a context in which subjects struggled to achieve minimum subsistence. The inability of the French empire to fulfill its responsibilities undermined the ideological justification for colonialism.
Allan Mitchell, 1933—2016
Algérie tours, détours (2006), La Chine est encore loin (2009), Fidaï (2012)
Nicole Beth Wallenbrock
This article investigates three recent transnational documentaries. The films invoke the theoretical concept of the rhizome, as understood by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, for the works trouble the line between past and present, as well as empirical geography that seperates North Africa from France with the Meditteranean. In this way, the three works that study Algeria’s founding and its historical memory can be regarded as experimental explorations of spatial and temporal concepts.
Workers, Colonial Subjects, and the Affective Politics of French Romantic Socialism
Naomi J. Andrews
During the 1830s and 1840s, romantic socialists in France wrote about three subjugated groups in the French empire: metropolitan workers, slaves in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean colonies, and Algerian civilians. Although these three groups ostensibly shared similar conditions of deprivation and violent treatment at the hands of the French state, socialists depicted them in importantly different terms, with the effect of humanizing workers and slaves, while dehumanizing the Algerians suffering French conquest and colonization. This article explores these presentations and examines the way they worked together to champion the socialist priority, the emergent working classes of the July Monarchy, and to indirectly endorse the settler colonial project in Algeria.
Michael Miller, Paul V. Dutton, and Laura Hobson Faure
Une notion stratégique dans l’espace littéraire francophone
This article offers a socio-historical approach to analyzing the genesis of the notion of “Algerian literature” and its structural relationship to “French literature”—unstable notions that have been subject to fierce debate. I show how “Algerian literature” has been nationalized and ethnicized during the twentieth century. These transformations are linked to Algerian writers’ literary and political struggles with one another. Their approaches to affirming or denying the very existence of “Algerian literature” during the colonial era, or its ethnic character after Algerian independence, depended on their political convictions, but also on their recognition within the French-Algerian literary space. A structural analysis of the kind offered here allows us to see new historical continuities and ruptures between French colonial literature and the literature of post-independence Algeria. It reveals too that the figure of Albert Camus has remained in the heart of the debates even to this day.
The Impact of French Internment on the Pacifist Convictions and Literary Imagination of Lion Feuchtwanger
Nicole Dombrowski Risser
German Jewish author, Lion Feuchtwanger, wove uncompromising pacifism into his post-World War I novels and plays, preferring a pen to a sword to oppose European fascism. Even over his six years of exile in France (1933–1939), Feuchtwanger maintained his pacifist convictions. This article traces the author’s late turn from literary pacifist antifascism to a reluctant, but firm advocacy of armed civilian and military struggle. Feuchtwanger’s internment by the French in the Les Milles detention camp triggered the author’s conversion. There, he abandoned his faith in pacifist, communist internationalism opting now for a romanticized idea of French nationalism, which pivoted around French martial, nationalist heroines like Joan of Arc and the Revolutionary Marianne. Novels, Paris Gazette (1939), Simone (1944), and his memoir The Devil in France (1941) demonstrated a sharpening of his pen to mobilize American and French readers for armed intervention and the militarization of female civilians. France in its betrayal, defeat, and regeneration became the lodestar for resetting Feuchtwanger’s compass.
New and Renewed Perspectives
The general picture drawn by Michael Marrus and Robert Paxton nearly forty years ago of the Vichy government’s state antisemitism has stood the test of time and has been reinforced. If an element of revisionism is called for, it is with respect to the role played by some figures within the Catholic hierarchy, especially Pierre-Marie Gerlier, the cardinal archbishop of Lyon. A still more detailed knowledge of Jewish rescue has been built up, which confirms the special position of Le Chambon and the Plateau Vivarais. And yet recent work also shows more clearly that what happened there was integrally part of a much wider story of rescue. The debate between Jacques Semelin, on the one hand, and Marrus and Paxton, on the other, over whether the fate of the Jews in France in 1940–1944 was shaped more by indifference than by consciously held antisemitism raises questions relating to both the history of Christianity and twentieth-century modernity.