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Postiers non-citoyens dans l’Algérie colonisée (vers 1900–1939)

Annick Lacroix

The Postal and Telecommunication administration offers a complex picture of colonial society in Algeria. Men and women, citizens and natives, were employed as mailmen, telephone operators, middle managers or postmasters. This article focuses on the specific position of colonized Algerians employed inside this administration. Addressing the period from the early twentieth century to the Second World War, it highlights how legal barriers and illiteracy narrowed access to public sector jobs and inhibited career advancement. However, professional records found in the Algerian archive centers also reveal how much the sociological backgrounds of these employees varied. The native mailman rarely got a permanent position, his wage was not high, but he could achieve some stability. He was a public figure in urban districts, as well as in remote villages. The article concludes with a detailed analysis of interactions at work and within the colonial context.

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Slave Flight, Slave Torture, and the State

Nineteenth-Century French Guiana

Miranda Spieler

This article explores the relationship between law and violence against slaves in nineteenth-century French Guiana. Drawing on unpublished sources from the colonial archives, Spieler examines the linked problems of slave abuse and slave flight to understand the evolving character of the French imperial state in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars. In the early nineteenth century, after the abolition of the slave trade, imperial administrators in Guiana contested the proprietary privileges of masters and lay claim to the right to punish slaves. During the 1820s and 1830s, slave testimony—especially the testimony of abused slaves (inside and outside the courtroom)—became unexpectedly central to this dispute between masters and administrators about the source of legitimate violence and the meaning of imperial sovereignty.

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Entre Algérie et France

Écrire une histoire sociale des Algériens au vingtième siècle

Muriel Cohen and Annick Lacroix

Focused on colonial and postcolonial Algerians’ social practices and experiences in Algeria and France, this special issue calls for a renewal of Algerian history. Outlining past historical work and new research directions, the introduction argues that to understand colonial Algeria better, historians need to push beyond a political history that assumes a clear contrast between settlers and colonized. While recognizing the colonial divide between settlers and colonized people, we ought to attend to other social hierarchies. These include men and women’s concrete experiences, for instance at work, at home, and in migration, intersections of race, gender, and class, contrasts between rural and urban areas, or the multiple role of religious identities and legal statuses. Reconstructing those social realities will require new archives, of labor and localities, for example, and new methods, including quantitative and oral history.

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Féministes et républicaines

Parcours de femmes à l’origine du CNFF (1880–1901)

Yolande Cohen

This article aims to show that the foundation in 1901 of one of the most prominent French feminist associations, the Conseil national des femmes françaises (CNFF), was the result of the encounter between republican and feminist activist networks. Studying the trajectories of the CNFF’s pioneers, using biographical and archival sources, permits us to better evaluate the influences of free-thinkers, freemasons, and liberal Protestants on the movement. The author shows that these networks, which came together in the fight for the abolition of the regulation on prostitution, were at the heart of first wave feminist struggles for gender equality and the democratization of the Third Republic. Their intervention in the public sphere, especially in this movement, led to an unexpected interplay between feminists and republicans. This feminist moment must also be understood as a republican moment.

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Nadia Malinovich

Drawing on archival material, oral interviews, and memoir literature, this article explores the changing meanings of France, the French language, and French colonialism for francophone Sephardic Jews who immigrated to the United States in the post-World War II years. Initially, both francophonie and a larger sense of connection to France and French culture were points of positive connection that set Jewish immigrants from the Muslim world apart from the Ashkenazic American mainstream. By the turn of the millennium, however, Sephardic francophonie in the United States had become largely attenuated. While this was due in part to demographic factors, it was also the result of changing attitudes towards France and francophonie on the part of both Sephardic immigrants and their descendants, as well the general American and American Jewish population more broadly.

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Many a Standard at a Time

The Ottomans' Leverage with Imperial Studies

Marc Aymes

This article aims to explore the consequences of including Ottoman studies in the larger field of imperial studies. It strives to combine a close reading of the Ottoman imperial epithets with considerations of how the Ottomans may contribute to theorizing empire as a model. In particular, the article engages in a discussion of whether the "sublime sultanate" developed into a colonial pattern of empire over its final century of existence. As it turns out, the Ottoman practice of administration did not come down to a simulacrum of European colonialism; the article points instead to a semiotics of empire that took its cue from a multidimensional logic of governmentality. Accordingly, archival idiosyncrasies are taken to imply the contrary of an Ottoman exceptionalism. They serve rather to highlight that concepts carry with them a vast repertoire of meanings to be activated in practice.

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Strange Encounters during Wartime

Bécassine chez les Turcs

Annabelle Cone

Too ideologically conservative to associate with contemporary bande dessinée, the Bécassine albums (1905-1939) nonetheless provide a rich historical and sociological archive of French behaviors, values and attitudes during the latter half of the Third Republic. A closer reading of the four albums set during the First World War, and the fourth one in particular, Bécassine chez les Turcs, helps to demystify the place in the world of France as superpower. The partnering of exotic 'Others' - a maid from Brittany with an Arab immigrant - further complicates a plot unable to end the war with patriotic unity and a return to the status quo. Bécassine the character puts a human face on displacement as she befriends colonised subjects. This study yields a vision of a smaller, more fragile France for readers who are not as much nostalgic for a glorious past as eager to decipher the complexity of a troubled time through the eyes of a subaltern observer.

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Girl Museum

a Global Project

Ashley E. Remer

Girl Museum is a virtual art and social history museum dedicated to researching the unique experience of growing up female, and documenting this through telling stories and exhibiting historic and contemporary images and material culture related to this experience. At Girl Museum, we want to raise global awareness about the issues and realities of both nature and nurture that face girls today and will face them tomorrow, via the lessons of yesterday. To achieve this, we are doing original research, producing exhibitions, building an archive, and partnering with individuals who are already out there doing good work and with organizations that support them, as well as providing venues in which girls themselves can have a voice.

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Ritty Lukose

This article explores what it means to decolonize feminism in the university today. Pushing against the idea that feminism in the university is disengaged from broader struggles, the article suggests a complex relationship between feminism as a knowledge project and as a political one. While feminism has had a long-standing decolonizing imperative within the university, equally challenging has been the decolonization of feminism. The #MeToo era has foregrounded the universalizing horizon of feminism, posing new challenges for this project. Arguing for a more complex understanding of generations and the politics of location in these debates, the article draws on a recent and not so recent feminist archive, such as the articulation of ideas of intersectionality and the ways in which multiple feminisms have been understood, in order to explore decolonizing feminism today.

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Space of Hope for Lebanon’s Missing

Promoting Transitional Justice through a Digital Memorial

Erik Van Ommering and Reem el Soussi

This article explores how a digital memorial for forcibly disappeared persons contributes to transitional justice in Lebanon. It presents the joint establishment of an interactive digital memorial by a collective of nongovernmental organizations, relatives of missing persons, and youth volunteers. The case study is situated in debates on transitional justice, calls for democratization of collective memories and archives, and discussions on new information and communication technologies. The article demonstrates how the development and launch of Fushat Amal (Space for Hope) is shaped and confined by postwar sociopolitical realities that are all but favorable to memorialization or justice-seeking initiatives. It highlights how digitalized memories can open up spaces that remain closed in the offline world, enabling survivors to share their stories, build collectives, demand recognition, and advocate for justice. At the same time, the authors discuss the limitations of digital memorials in relation to questions of access, ownership, and sustainability.