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Beyond Left and Right

New Perspectives on the Politics of the Third Republic

Linda E. Mitchell

The articles in this issue all reflect on the various ways in which political trends during the period of the Third Republic have been categorized by both historians of the period and the political actors themselves. Ranging in topic from political trends in the French military in the years after the Dreyfus Affair to the participation of women in the politics of the extreme Right, these pieces focus especially on the need to transcend categories of Left and Right in order to discuss more accurately the ways in which the political party system developed, in particular during the years between the world wars.

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Martin Thomas

Focusing on the gendarmerie forces of the three French Maghreb territories, this article explores the relationships between paramilitary policing, the collection of political intelligence, and the form and scale of collective violence in the French Empire between the wars, and considers what, if anything, was specifically colonial about these phenomena. I also assess the changing priorities in political policing as France's North African territories became more unstable and violent during the Depression. The gendarmeries were overstretched, under-resourced, and poorly integrated into the societies they monitored. With the creation of dedicated riot control units, intelligenceled political policing of rural communities and the agricultural economy fell away. By 1939 the North African gendarmeries knew more about organized trade unions, political parties, and other oppositional groups in the Maghreb's major towns, but they knew far less about what really drove mass protest and political violence: access to food, economic prosperity, rural markets, and labor conditions.

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Christophe Charle

Thanks to a comparison of social and educational characteristics of elites in France, Germany and UK at the end of the nineteenth century, this contribution shows the specificities of the French case: a mixture of persistent traditional elites, akin to British and German ones, and the growing domination of a more recent economic and meritocratic bourgeoisie pushing for liberalism and democracy. Nevertheless, evolutions in the same direction as France are also perceptible in the two monarchies and give birth to a new divergence when after WWI the democratization of elites go faster in UK and Germany than in France where the law bourgeoisie remain dominant and blocks the reforms asked by more popular or petit bourgeois groups present in the political parties on the left.

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“Flattering the Little Sleeping Rooster”

The French Left, de Gaulle, and the Vietnam War in 1965

Bethany S. Keenan

This article examines conflicts concerning French policy on the American phase of the Vietnam War between the French Left and Charles de Gaulle during the 1965 elections. The Left faced a dilemma on a matter of central foreign policy as it found it difficult to differentiate its position on the war from de Gaulle's public statements on it. Through an evaluation of press commentary, I demonstrate that in its attempt to set itself apart from de Gaulle, the French Left challenged not only his interpretation of the war in Vietnam but also his understanding of France and its role in the world, proffering a softer, cooperative conception in opposition to de Gaulle's push for a militant leadership status for France in the international community. The study shows the limits political parties face as part of protest movements, while also situating French debate over the Vietnam War squarely within the ongoing dialogue over French national identity.

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African Dawn

Keïta Fodéba and the Imagining of National Culture in Guinea

Andrew W. M. Smith

’ignorance en Côte d’Ivoire denounced the decision to ban Fodéba’s work. This group was affiliated with the political party Rassemblement démocratique africain (RDA) as a communist study group alongside the Université populaire africain à Dakar 30 They

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“Purely Artistic”

Police Power and Popular Culture in Colonial Algerian Theater

Danielle Beaujon

in 1830, but by the interwar period, formal political parties emerged. 8 In 1926, Messali Hadj founded the Étoile Nord-Africaine, a political organization that demanded reform within the French Empire and a larger political role for Algerian elites

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Jules Vallès and Séverine

Romantic Socialism and the Afterlife of a Cross-Sex Friendship in French Political Culture, 1880–1929

Michael Mulvey

with confidence that “Alfred Dreyfus is innocent … innocent, innocent, INNOCENT!” 126 Henceforth, she sought converts through journalism. 127 Historian Françoise Blum noted that Séverine had a deep desire to re-experience sociability outside political