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Apostles of ModernitySaint-Simonians and the Civilizing Mission in Algeria$
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Osama Abi-Mershed

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804769099

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804769099.001.0001

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Introduction Republicanism Deferred

Introduction Republicanism Deferred

(p.1) Introduction Republicanism Deferred
Apostles of Modernity
Stanford University Press

This book introduces the often overlooked, yet cardinal, influence of France's military Arabists on colonial policy making in Algeria from 1830 to 1870. These specialized officers and colonial administrators, serving in concentrated numbers in the Ministry of War's Directorate of Arab Affairs in Paris and Algiers, were longstanding critics of native assimilation and proponents of “controlled association” with the Muslims of Algeria. Imbued with the teachings of the philosopher Henri de Saint-Simon, the Arabist officers contested the existence of primordial human racial and cultural characteristics, and insisted on the need for societies at different stages of historical development to evolve within their particular institutional structures and cultural traditions. This study also illustrates how the unfounded confidence in the assimilationist fiber of French colonialism became interrelated with three “problems” in writing the history of French Algeria. This chapter revisits these three historical problems and proposes a new periodization for the decades of military rule in Algeria (1830–1870).

Keywords:   French Algeria, colonial policy, French military Arabists, native assimilation, Henri de Saint-Simon, French colonialism, military rule

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