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The Merchants of OranA Jewish Port at the Dawn of Empire$
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Joshua Schreier

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780804799140

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804799140.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM STANFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.stanford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Stanford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in SSO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021



Moralities and Mythologies

(p.149) Conclusion
The Merchants of Oran

Joshua Schreier

Stanford University Press

French civil status records reveal that in all likelihood, Jacob Lasry was married simultaneously to two women. This returns a paradox discussed in the introduction, notably that Jacob Lasry, France’s chosen agent of “civilization” in Oran, apparently maintained practices that French colonial law singled out as “indigenous.” Civilizing mission notwithstanding, France could not afford to alienate this class of local Jewish merchants. It follows that colonial Oran was deeply shaped by them. With the introduction of new ideas, institutions and laws, however, all classes of Jews were increasingly understood to be “indigenous.” This process led, after several decades, to a naturalization decree based entirely on religion. “Jew” evolved into a subset of “French citizen,” while “Muslim” increasingly described the “colonial subject.” France had initiated the process of Jewish reification, minoritization, and isolation from their Muslim neighbors.

Keywords:   France, Colonialism, Lasry, Oran, Algeria, Jews, Minorities-Middle East, Muslim-Jewish relations, Merchants

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