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A White Race Blindness?

Abstract Universalism and the Unspeakable Making of Race

Sarah Mazouz

Drawing on observations and on interviews conducted in a préfecture and in a municipalité of the Paris periphery, this article analyzes how republican universalism operates as a “particularizing” tool that enacts Whiteness. Starting from the paradoxical situation in which White state officials are reluctant to engage with the notion of racial discrimination when they are keen to ascribe racial categories to people of color, I argue that race blindness is in fact a form of White blindness to racialization. People of color who subscribe to the ideology of colorblindness tend to adopt a position whereby their loyalty toward the requirement of race blindness is supposed to protect them from suspicions raised by the racialized identity they are assigned to. But in practice, this stance internalizes the way they are viewed by Whites. The article concludes by discussing the link between White race blindness and the failure of republican policies against racial discrimination.

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Laura Levine Frader, Ian Merkel, Jessica Lynne Pearson, and Caroline Séquin

Lisa Greenwald, Daughters of 1968: Redefining French Feminism and the Women's Liberation Movement (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2018).

Eric T. Jennings, Escape from Vichy: The Refugee Exodus to the French Caribbean (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018).

Kathleen Keller, Colonial Suspects: Suspicion, Imperial Rule, and Colonial Society in Interwar French West Africa (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2018).

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Educating Women, Recasting Patriarchy

Becoming Modern in Colonial Morocco

Etty Terem

Abstract

This article explores the development of reformist thought and the formulation of modern identities in colonial Morocco. In seeking to move beyond conceptualizing ideas of social reorganization and cultural revival as determined by the encounter between the colonizer and the colonized, it shifts the critical focus to interactions within Moroccan colonial society itself. Specifically, it situates a project of reform in girls’ education within a local and broader debate on the effective formula for educational and pedagogic restructuring that would ensure the advance of the Muslim community. This analysis demonstrates that ideas of social change and cultural innovation in colonial Morocco were shaped by divides and disputes among Moroccans themselves as much as by the colonial state and its policy initiatives.

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Jonathan G. Katz

Abstract

The pioneering French doctor Françoise Entz Légey (1876-1935) devoted her career in Algeria and Morocco to women's healthcare. Much acclaimed in her lifetime, and remembered today largely for her two books on Moroccan folklore, Légey established in Marrakesh a maternity hospital and a milk dispensary. She also embarked on a plan to instruct “modern” midwives to replace indigenous matrones and sages-femmes, known in Arabic as qablas. While Protectorate policy afforded opportunities to European women physicians like Légey, it simultaneously undermined the authority of indigenous Moroccan women healthcare providers. Efforts by Légey and other European physicians to supplant indigenous medicine with biomedicine ultimately contributed to the landscape of medical pluralism that prevails today. Moreover, European medicine disproportionately attracted the Jewish minority and further contributed to Jewish alienation from the Muslim majority.

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Illegible Allegations

Navigating the Meanings of Rape in Colonial Algeria

Sarah Ghabrial

Abstract

Laws that shield men from punishment if they marry their victims are so ubiquitous that their genesis is impossible to identify. Rather than attempting to trace the colonial or pre-colonial “origins” of so-called marry-your-rapist laws in Algeria, this article examines particular moments within this thick history. It posits that Algerian colonial courts were sites of confrontation, misrecognition, and occasional confluence between local remedies for unlawful sex and modern legal conceptions of rape inextricable from medicalized methods of detection. Algerian litigants approached French courts in rape cases demanding forms of redress based in vernacular ontologies of equitable restitution and social cohesion. In turn, colonial authorities inferred equivalences between indigenous normative codes, Islamic textual prescriptions, and the French Code Pénal that reshaped the legal and social meaning of rape.

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Muslim Notables, French Colonial Officials, and the Washers of the Dead

Women and Gender Politics in Colonial Algeria

Augustin Jomier

Abstract

For many decades, scholars of gender and women's history in the Middle East and North Africa have challenged prevailing visions of an unchanged patriarchy, showing how patriarchy was transformed in relation to colonialism, and how some women struggled against it. To the contrary, this article aims to challenge our understanding of women's agency, taking Mzab as a case study. It explores the ways in which women of this Berber speaking region, inhabited by Ibadi Muslims and conquered by the French in 1882, contributed to the colonial reinforcement of male domination. Reading together works of ethnography, colonial administrative files, legal disputes, and Arabic-language newspapers, this article shows that, together with the colonial legal framework, other informal legal discourses and institutions shaped women's condition. Down the road, forms of patriarchy and notions of gender shifted.

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Amy Kallander

Abstract

This article examines love as a facet of nation building in constructions of modern womanhood and national identity in the 1950s and 1960s. In Tunisia and France, romantic love was evoked to define an urban, middle-class modernity in which the gender norms implicit in companionate marriage signaled a break with the past. These ideals were represented in fiction and women's magazines and elaborated in the novel genre of the advice column. Yet this celebration was interrupted by concern about “mixed marriage” and the rise of anti-immigrant discrimination targeting North Africans in France. Referring to race or religion, debates about interracial marriage in Tunisia and the sexual stereotyping of North African men in France reveal the continuity of colonialism's racial legacies upon postcolonial states. The idealization of marital choice as a testament to individual and national modernity was destabilized by transnational intimacies revealing the limits of the nation-state's liberatory promise to women.

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Etty Terem

Abstract

This introduction to the special issue highlights dominant approaches to the study of women's and gender history in colonial and postcolonial Maghrib. Moreover, it delineates the analytical agenda that frames our inquiry, and reviews the essays in this collection.

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Sébastien Roux and Aurélie Fillod-Chabaud

En avril 2013, au paroxysme des tensions qui entourent l'adoption de la loi Taubira, Frigide Barjot, cheffe de file de la Manif’ pour tous, menace François Hollande de « sang » si la loi pour le mariage homosexuel est adoptée par l'assemblée. Christine Boutin, égérie des catholiques traditionnalistes, parle de « guerre civile » dans des tweets vengeurs. En quelques mois, des centaines de milliers de personnes descendent dans les rues pour manifester et contre-manifester. Moins de quinze ans après l'adoption du Pacs, on invoque à nouveau la République intemporelle et les principes révolutionnaires. On parle, la gorge serrée, de Marianne qu'on trahit. Derrière chaque contrat ou chaque gamète, c'est l'ordre social qui se joue, la République qu'on menace, le symbolique qui tangue… Au début des années 2010, devant les caméras éberluées du monde entier, la France montre à nouveau la place singulière qu'occupent les questions familiales dans le débat public.

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Cécité partielle

Procédure d'adoption et colorblindness institutionnelle en France

Solène Brun

Abstract

While France is largely considered a “colorblind” society, which hinders any public use of racial categories, this article explores the case of international procedure, arguing that it constitutes an exception to institutional colorblindness in the French context. Racial categories are not only explicitly used on a daily basis by adoption professionals, but their use is also officially encouraged, yet in an ambiguous way. In this regard, adoption procedures operate as a moment of color consciousness for many adoptive parents. By focusing on this particular case study, the article aims more generally to unpack the stakes of the taboo surrounding race in France.