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Introduction: The French Empire and the History of Economic Life

Owen White and Elizabeth Heath

If the past twenty years or so of heightened interest in the history of the French Empire has delivered a satisfactory return on scholarly investment, it seems fair to say that the theme of economic life within that empire has received something of

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Famine and the Science of Food in the French Empire, 1900–1939

Yan Slobodkin

French empire. The Popular Front’s minister of colonies Marius Moutet expressed this newly-assumed responsibility unambiguously in 1936, writing, “I could have nothing else for my first concern than the study of what I am forced to call, without wanting

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Policing the French Empire

Colonial Law Enforcement and the Search for Racial-Territorial Hegemony

Samuel Kalman

variety of models in use within the diverse array of locales. However, only rarely have collections focused exclusively on the French empire, and then principally sub-Saharan territories along with Madagascar. 5 Yet the entire “très grande France

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Decolonization and Religion in the French Empire

Giuliana Chamedes and Elizabeth A. Foster

Scholarly attention to decolonization in the French Empire and beyond has largely focused on the political transitions from colonies to nation-states. This introduction, and the essays in this special issue, present new ways of looking at decolonization by examining how religious communities and institutions imagined and experienced the end of French Empire. This approach adds valuable perspectives obscured by historiographical emphasis on French republican secularism and on the workings of the colonial state. Bringing together histories of religion and decolonization sheds new light on the late colonial period and the early successor states of the French empire. It also points to the importance of international institutions and transnational religious communities in the transitions at the end of empire.

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The French Empire Goes to San Francisco

The Founding of the United Nations and the Limits of Colonial Reform

Jessica Lynne Pearson

inhabitants of France's overseas territories on a more equal footing with inhabitants of metropolitan France. Under the new constitution, the “French Union” replaced the “French Empire,” universalizing the right to vote, hold office, and receive an education

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The Return of N'Guyen Van Binh

Exile and Injustice in the French Empire, 1866–1876

Geoff Read

Mahdi of the North West’: Louis Riel and the Métis Resistance in Trans-Atlantic and Imperial Context,” Canadian Historical Review 93 (June 2012): 171–195. 6 There is a large and growing literature on the violence of the French Empire. For three key

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

Women and Gender Politics in Colonial Algeria

Augustin Jomier

du Maghreb (Jerusalem: Institut Ben-Zvi, 1982). 23 Sarah Abrevaya Stein, Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2014). 24 Benjamin C. Brower, A Desert Named Peace: The Violence of France's Empire in

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The Chaouch of Marseille

Metropolitan Intermediaries and Colonial Control, 1928–1945

Danielle Beaujon


In 1928, the French government created a bureau in Marseille to both control and help North African migrants, an organization eventually called the Bureau des Affaires Musulmanes Nord-Africaines (BAMNA). Throughout the BAMNA's many name changes and structural reorganizations over the years, Mohamed Ben Hadj remained constant as the bureau's only North African employee. This article traces Ben Hadj's career within the BAMNA, using his professional trajectory to explore the mechanisms and disfunction of colonial governance in the metropole. Ben Hadj created his own role as an urban, metropolitan intermediary, leveraging his personal connections to build a sphere of influence in Marseille's North African community. Ben Hadj's rise to power within the BAMNA reveals the importance of this type of intermediary for understanding imperial control in the metropole.

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Illegible Allegations

Navigating the Meanings of Rape in Colonial Algeria

Sarah Ghabrial


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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Colonial Legacy

French Retirees in Nha Trang, Vietnam Today

Anne Raffin

current study addresses that gap, with an emphasis on gauging the extent to which connections with the legacy of French empire may figure in French retirees’ accounts of their decision to move to a former French colony and in the meaning they attribute to