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The “Moral Effect” of Legalized Lawlessness

Violence in Britain’s Twentieth-Century Empire

Caroline Elkins

twinned birthing of liberalism and imperialism in the nineteenth century, gave rise to liberal authoritarianism. This ideology, which underpinned Britain’s civilizing mission, took form in various enabling legal scaffoldings, including the evolution of

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Rethinking Universalism

Olympe Audouard, Hubertine Auclert, and the Gender Politics of the Civilizing Mission

Rachel Nuñez

Building on Joan Scott's argument that the struggles of feminists since the Revolution have been rooted in the paradoxes of republican universalism, this article explores how two nineteenth-century feminists—Olympe Audouard and Hubertine Auclert—sought to escape the problem of sexual difference through engagement with the civilizing mission. They criticized the civilizing mission as chauvinistic and misogynistic to reveal how republican universalism had failed to address inequalities of both sex and race. They also proposed more inclusive forms of universalism: in her writing on Turkey, Audouard advocated cosmopolitanism, in which all peoples, regardless of race or sex, could contribute to civilization, while Auclert, in her writing on Algeria, supported assimilation as a way to endow both French women and Arabs with the rights of French men. Yet their versions of universalism were no less paradoxical than republican universalism. Through cosmopolitanism and assimilation, they invoked new others and worked strategically to displace sexual difference with racial, national, and religious difference.

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Temporalization of Concepts

Reflections on the Concept of Unnati (Progress) in Hindi (1870–1900)

Mohinder Singh

This article analyzes the historical semantics of the concept of unnati in the nationalist discourse in Hindi between 1870 and 1900. The article first outlines the basic features of the Enlightenment concept of progress using Koselleck's analysis. It then goes on to discuss the place of the concept of progress in the colonial ideology of a “civilizing mission,“ and concludes by taking up the analysis of the usage of the term unnati in the nationalist discourse in North India.

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Racialized Capacities and Transgressive Mobility

“Asian” Laborers and “Western” Urban Transportation in Colonial Manila and Singapore

Michael D. Pante

This article places race at the analytical center of a comparative urban transport history of early twentieth-century Singapore and Manila. It focuses on motorization, as seen in the influx and eventual dominance of streetcars and automobiles. The British and the American colonizers turned these Western-made vehicles into symbols of colonial modernity, defined in racialized terms. They regarded the different “Asiatics” as naturally ill-equipped to handle streetcars and automobiles, and when the colonized proved them wrong, the colonizers framed these acts using the racialist discourse of “potentiality.” Nevertheless, the native transport laborers appropriated motorized vehicles in ways that the colonizers did not imagine. Machines presented the natives a world of knowledge, which was maximized for financial gain. The acquisition of various forms of knowledge thus revealed a paradox of the civilizing mission: the colonizers exposed natives to the world of civilized knowledge, but the acquisition of this knowledge disrupted colonial discipline.

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Giuliana Chamedes

The conceptual history of 'economic development' is often told as a US-centered story. The United States, according to the standard account, turned to economic development as a tool in its struggle for global dominance during the Cold War. In line with recent research, this article demonstrates that the post-World War II boom in economic development had European origins as well, and that it originated as a joint response to the Cold War and to the unraveling of European empires. In particular, emphasis is placed on the little-studied contribution of a French Catholic activist who helped redefine economic development in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Dominican Father Louis-Joseph Lebret stood at the head of an influential movement, which conceived of economic development as a way to save both France and Christianity in a moment of crisis for the French empire and for the Roman Catholic Church. In his writings, Lebret bestowed renewed legitimacy on the French 'civilizing mission.' He also revived elements of interwar Catholic thought to argue for the imperative of building a new moral-economic order that was neither communist nor capitalist. Far from a marginal historical actor, this theorist-practitioner was successful in his efforts, and gained followers for his vision of economic development in France, in Vatican City, at the United Nations, and in various former colonized countries.

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Richard Ivan Jobs, Judith Surkis, Laura Lee Downs, Nimisha Barton and Kimberly A. Arkin

de France entre fierté et impatience,” Le Monde , 21 January 2015. Amelia Lyons, The Civilizing Mission in the Metropole: Algerian Families and the French Welfare State during Decolonization (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013). Review by

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Narrating the Second World War

History Textbooks and Nation Building in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine

Lina Klymenko

occupation regime, as well as suffering of the Ukrainian people under the Soviet regime Narrative of a civilizing mission Liberation of Europe by the Red Army, integration of southern Sakhalin and the Kuril islands into the Soviet Union, and establishment of

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“Algeria for the Algerians”

Public Education and Settler Identity in the Early Third Republic

Kyle Francis

of all republican officials who stood in their way. Finally, the official solutions devised in response to the revolt reveal a colony and metropole whose fundamental concepts—such as laïcité , republican universalism, and the civilizing mission

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A Bridge Across the Mediterranean

Nafissa Sid Cara and the Politics of Emancipation during the Algerian War

Elise Franklin

to knit together the colony and metropole through policies that would protect its empire in Algeria. These policies came to the fore in part because of the varied application and even more varied success of civilizing missions in the colonies

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Are “the Natives” Educable?

Dutch Schoolchildren Learn Ethical Colonial Policy (1890–1910)

Elisabeth Wesseling and Jacques Dane

, but rather elevated to a higher level of civilization became widespread. The British took up the white man’s burden; the French committed themselves to a so-called civilizing mission ( mission civilisatrice) ; and the Dutch embraced the so