HomeThe History of Colonial Algeria: Long Term and International Perspectives

The History of Colonial Algeria: Long Term and International Perspectives

L’Histoire de l’Algérie coloniale : longue durée et désenclavement

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Published on Monday, October 29, 2012 by Elsa Zotian

Summary

For a long time, historians have focused on the independence war, building a rich historiography. The long colonial period, however, had been less explored, so much so that Charles-André Julien and Charles-Robert Ageron’s two-volume Histoire de l’Algérie contemporaine, published in the 1960’s-1970’s, had remained the reference. However, the recently published Histoire de l'Algérie à la période coloniale (2012) shows that new ground has been broken. At this stage, it seems that it is time to pause and reflect on the historiography. Our aim is two-pronged: Can we have a better understanding of the colonization of Algeria in the longue durée, beyond the traditional focus on periods of conflict? Our second aim is to take the history of Algeria out of its own box to replace it in the larger picture of imperial history – be it in relation with France or with the other French colonies.

Announcement

Presentation

This conference aims to showcase the renewal of the history of Algeria during the colonial period, with an emphasis on historiography and reflexivity, although case studies will be welcome.

For a long time, historians have focused on the independence war, building a rich historiography. The long colonial period, however, had been less explored, so much so that Charles-André Julien and Charles-Robert Ageron’s two-volume Histoire de l’Algérie contemporaine, published in the 1960’s-1970’s, had remained the reference. However, the recently published Histoire de l'Algérie à la période coloniale (2012) shows that new ground has been broken. At this stage, it seems that it is time to pause and reflect on the historiography. Our aim is two-pronged:

  • Can we have a better understanding of the colonization of Algeria in the longue durée, beyond the traditional focus on periods of conflict?

We suggest reconsidering the 1830-1962 chronology, in part by studying the periods of transition before and after the “colonial moment”. We also suggest that this longue durée approach would force to unseat the current primacy of political history. We would like a reflection on the place of the independence war in the historiography, especially as much of the study of the colonial period qualifies as a genealogy of that moment. We also invite thoughts on the impact of the context of violent decolonization and nationalism in the writing of the history of Algeria in Algeria, in France, and elsewhere.

  • Our second aim is to take the history of Algeria out of its own box to replace it in the larger picture of imperial history – be it in relation with France or with the other French colonies.

Coming from English and American historiography, this inclusion of the international context is a new approach for the historiography of colonial Algeria, long trapped in a French-Algerian face-off. This internationalization needs to be thought of at the inter-imperial scale. Algeria, for instance, was a settler colony, much as many British colonies were. A comparative approach would not negate the specificities of Algeria but help evaluate them. Why deprive ourselves of a comparison with Madagascar, New Caledonia, Indochina, or French West Africa, for instance? It would be worthwhile to replace Algeria in the larger French Empire by studying the similarities and differences in colonization and its genesis. Was it simply a case of exporting techniques developed in Algeria, for example? If there was an Algerian blueprint, what accounts for the differences that later developed?

The invite papers along the following lines:

  • The history of Algeria between the history of Africa and the history of the Mediterranean, possibly testing an “area studies” approach.
  • The history of colonial Algeria from the perspective of the larger French Empire.
  • The history of Algeria and the history of empires: how to internationalize the history of colonial Algeria?
  • What chronology for the history of Algeria: breaks and transitions.

Submission Guidelines

Proposals should include a title, a ten-line long presentation, and a one-page CV; they should be sent at the following address: colloquealgerienanterre@gmail.com

by 30 November 2012.

They can be submitted either in French or in English.

Travel and accommodation expenses can be covered.

The Conference will take place at Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense, on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 April 2013

Organizing Committee

  • Hélène Blais (Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre)
  • Claire Fredj (Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre)
  • Sylvie Thénault (CNRS)

Scientific committee

  • Hélène Blais, MCF, Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre, IDHE, UMR 8533
  • Emmanuel Blanchard, MCF, Université de Versailles-Saint Quentin, CESDIP, UMR 8183,
  • Claire Fredj, MCF, Université de Paris Ouest-Nanterre, IDHE, UMR 8533
  • Alain Messaoudi, PRAG, EHESS, CHSIM-CRH, UMR 8558
  • Sylvie Thénault, Directrice de recherche, CNRS, CHS, UMR 8058

Places

  • Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense
    Nanterre, France (92)

Date(s)

  • Friday, November 30, 2012

Keywords

  • Algérie, historiographie, histoire coloniale

Information source

  • Hélène Blais
    courriel : helene [dot] blais [at] ens [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« The History of Colonial Algeria: Long Term and International Perspectives », Conference, symposium, Calenda, Published on Monday, October 29, 2012, https://calenda.org/225029

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