HomeThe war of the others: The colonies of the First World War

The war of the others: The colonies of the First World War

La guerre des autres : les colonies dans la première guerre mondiale

حرب الآخرين: المستعمرات في الحرب العالمية الأولى

Footsteps, narratives and memories

Traces, récits et mémoires

الآثار، الروايات والذاكرة

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Published on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 by Rémi Boivin

Summary

This symposium is aimed at taking stock of the different researches carried out on the colonial participation in The First World War, as much from the point of view of history as of representations, in order to understand better the transformations occurring during this conflict.  Indeed, it hopes to consider as large a geographical space as possible: to be not only a reflexion about French colonies, but to be open to the European and international dimension. This symposium will concentrate on understanding what the Great War was to those who were involved in it without necessarily having decided to do so: pain, refusal, but also discoveries... 

Announcement

Argument

In the first decade of the 20th century, the French Empire is shaken by a series of events. The coming war was bringing changes. In Algeria, the «Tlemcen Exodus» (1910) leads hundreds of indigenes to take the path of exile in Middle-East[1].  They leave in order to avoid military service. This is not the only exodus. In 1912, some Algerians workers embark clandestinely for France. They were attracted by better salaries than the ones they used to have in the colonial domains.

Indeed, the demand for labour in French factories leads to the arrival of hundreds of workers in France (where they discover the solidarity of trade unions) before those who will fight for one «homeland» that they often do not know anything about. One escapes the war of others; one takes the opportunities, first of all economic, that the war offers...

The focus of this symposium will be about the colonies and the colonized participation in this conflict. What were their involvements? How and to what ends were they mobilized? This line of questioning will enable us to think about the way the war took place in the colonies, and about the conflicts that occurred there (as in Cameroun and in Togo between French and Germans, from August 1914); about the way the colonized populations have been mobilized, about their «uses» and the roles which they were assigned; about their resistances (as in the Aïr and the Gourma – in the current Nigeria – in 1913-1914 against requisitions, in the French Soudan – current Mali – in 1915 against recruitments or in the Algerian Auras in 1916), about the manner that European populations treated the colonized who came to take part in the war, from the national as well as international points of view. 

What social changes, in terms of social relations and especially of protest movements, did colonial participation in the Great War introduce both within colonies as well as in the metropolis?

Furthermore, we will bear upon the social representations which were disseminated within colonized populations, long ago colonised and in the metropolises, regarding for instance the «force noire» dear to General Mangin[2]?

The memory of this war can also be addressed, in the colonies and ex-colonies but in Europe as well, as for instance with regard to the combatant experience of the colonial soldiers.

As the level of representations in literary productions, The Great War quickly becomes the theme of the first francophone novels and stories, as with Elissa Rhaïs in Saada la marocaine (Plon, 1919) and Le café chantant (as well as two other short stories) in Plon 1920. The same year, Mohamed Bencherif publishes Ahmed ben Mostepha, goumier, in Payot Editions. Finally, Albert Camus in Le premier homme, also talks about the participation of his father to the First World War (Gallimard, 1994). One could pursue a comparative study of other colonized lands, in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as in the West Indies. Furthermore, iconographic and cinematographic representations can be considered as well.

This symposium is aimed at taking stock of the different researches carried out on the colonial participation in The First World War, as much from the point of view of history as of representations, in order to understand better the transformations occurring during this conflict.  Indeed, it hopes to consider as large a geographical space as possible: to be not only a reflexion about French colonies, but to be open to the European and international dimension. This symposium will concentrate on understanding what the Great War was to those who were involved in it without necessarily having decided to do so: pain, refusal, but also discoveries...

Zineb Ali-Benali and Tramor Quemeneur

Scientific committee

 

Zineb Ali-Benali (Professor, University of Paris 8), Pierre Brocheux (Senior Lecturer, University of Paris 7), Raphaël Confiant (Professor, Head of the Faculty of Humanities, University of  West Indies and French Guyana), Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch (Professor, University of Paris 7), Papa Samba Diop (Professor, University of Paris Est-Créteil), Romuald Fonkoua (Professor, University of Paris 4), Gilbert Meynier (Professor, University of Nancy 3), Nicolas Offenstadt (Senior Lecturer, Paris 1), Tramor Quemeneur (Junior Lecturer, University of Paris 8), Françoise Simasotchi-Brones (Senior Lecturer, University of Paris 8), Ouanassa Siari Tengour (Senior Lecturer, CRASC), Benjamin Stora (General Inspector of the National Education).

Submission guidelines

Paper proposals (around 300 words) and a short presentation of the authors should be sent to laguerredesautres@gmail.com before the 15th of July 2014. Proposals from junior researchers are welcome. The responses of the scientific committee will be sent by the 15th of July.

The war of the others: The colonies of the First World War
Footsteps, narratives and memories

International symposium – University of Paris 8
December 1-2, 2014


[1] Charles-Robert Ageron : « Les migrations de musulmans algériens et l’exode de Tlemcen (1830-1911), Annales. Economies, Sociétés, Civilisations, 22e année, n°5, 1967, p. 1 047-1 066.

[2] Charles Mangin, La force noire, Hachette, Paris, 1910.

Places

  • Université Paris 8 - 2, rue de la Liberté
    Saint-Denis, France (93)

Date(s)

  • Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Keywords

  • première guerre mondiale, colonie, colonisation, colonialisme, décolonisation, anticolonialisme, post-colonialisme, Afrique, Maghreb, Asie, Antilles, Empires coloniaux, tirailleur, zouave, goumier

Contact(s)

  • Tramor Quemeneur
    courriel : tquemeneur [at] hotmail [dot] com

Information source

  • Tramor Quemeneur
    courriel : tquemeneur [at] hotmail [dot] com

To cite this announcement

« The war of the others: The colonies of the First World War », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Wednesday, June 25, 2014, https://calenda.org/288628

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