The French Colonial Mind, Volume 2


The French Colonial Mind, Volume 2

Violence, Military Encounters, and Colonialism

Edited and with an introduction by Martin Thomas

France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization Series

440 pages
1 graph, 1 table


January 2012


$45.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

January 2012


$45.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Violence was prominent in France’s conquest of a colonial empire, and the use of force was integral to its control and regulation of colonial territories. What, if anything, made such violence distinctly colonial? And how did its practitioners justify or explain it? These are issues at the heart of The French Colonial Mind: Violence, Military Encounters, and Colonialism. The second of two linked volumes, this book brings together prominent scholars of French colonial history to explore the many ways in which brutality and killing became central to the French experience and management of empire.

Sometimes concealed or denied, at other times highly publicized and even celebrated, French violence was so widespread that it was in some ways constitutive of colonial identity. Yet such violence was also destructive: destabilizing for its practitioners and lethal or otherwise devastating for its victims. The manifestations of violence in the minds and actions of imperialists are investigated here in essays that move from the conquest of Algeria in the 1830s to the disintegration of France’s empire after World War II. The authors engage a broad spectrum of topics, ranging from the violence of first colonial encounters to conflicts of decolonization. Each considers not only the forms and extent of colonial violence but also its dire effects on perpetrators and victims. Together, their essays provide the clearest picture yet of the workings of violence in French imperialist thought.

Author Bio

Martin Thomas is a professor of colonial history at Exeter University. He is the author of several books, including The French Empire Between the Wars: Imperialism, Politics, and Society and Empires of Intelligence: Security Services and Colonial Disorder after 1914.
Contributors include William Gallois, Bertrand Taithe, Michael Vann, Joshua Cole, Samuel Kalman, Kim Munholland, Owen White, Joe Lunn, Martin Alexander, Neil MacMaster, Mathilde von Bulow, and Robert Aldrich.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Mapping Violence onto French Colonial Minds 

Part 1: Cultures of Violence in the Empire
1. Dahra and the History of Violence in Early Colonial Algeria 
William Gallois
2. Losing Their Mind and Their Nation? Mimicry, Scandal, and Colonial Violence in the Voulet-Chanoine Affair 
Bertrand Taithe
3. Fear and Loathing in French Hanoi: Colonial White Images and Imaginings of "Native" Violence 
Michael G. Vann
4. Anti-Semitism and the Colonial Situation in Interwar Algeria: The Anti-Jewish Riots in Constantine, August 1934 
Joshua Cole
5. Fascism and Algérianité: The Croix de Feu and the Indigenous Question in 1930s Algeria 
Samuel Kalman
6. Colonial Minds and Colonial Violence: The Sétif Uprising and the Savage Economics of Colonialism 
Martin Thomas

Part 2: Colonial Minds and Empire Soldiers
7. Conquest and Cohabitation: French Men's Relations with West African Women in the 1890s and 1900s 
Owen White
8. The French Colonial Mind and the Challenge of Islam: The Case of Ernest Psichari 
Kim Munholland
9. French Race Theory, the Parisian Society of Anthropology, and the Debate over La Force Noire, 1909<EN>1912 
Joe Lunn
10. Colonial Minds Confounded: French Colonial Troops in the Battle of France, 1940 
Martin S. Alexander
11. The "Silent Native": Attentisme, Being Compromised, and Banal Terror during the Algerian War of Independence, 1954<EN>1962 
Neil MacMaster
12. Exposing the "Paradoxical Citizenship": French Authorities' Responses to the Algerian Presence in Federal Germany during the Algerian War, 1954<EN>1962 
Mathilde von Bülow

Conclusion: The Colonial Past and the Postcolonial Present 
Robert Aldrich
List of Contributors 

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