Advertisement

Culture and Empire, 1830–1962: An Overview

  • Martin Evans

Abstract

On 6 May 1931 France’s Colonial Exhibition finally opened at the Bois de Vincennes in Paris. Four years in the making, covering some 110 hectares, the vast scale of the project had created an eager sense of anticipation. People had been talking about the event for weeks and, as President Gaston Doumergue was driven from his residence to the main gate of the Exhibition, escorted by a squadron of colonial cavalry in full dress uniform, crowds cheered and clapped from the roadside. The motorcade was accompanied by a one-hundred gun salute and when Doumergue disembarked his entourage were visibly moved by this impressive display of imperial pageantry.

Keywords

Political Culture Colonial Setting International Exhibition French Culture Superior Culture 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Herman Lebovics, True France: Wars over Cultural Identity 1900–1945 ( Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1992 ).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    On the history of French colonial expansion see Robert Aldrich, Greater France: A History of Overseas Expansion (London: Macmillan, 1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Raoul Girardet, L’Idée coloniale en France 1871–1962 ( Paris: La Table Ronde, 1972 );Google Scholar
  4. Jean Meyer, Jean Tarrade, Annie-Rey-Goldzeiguer and Jacques Thobie, Histoire de la France coloniale: des origines à 1914 ( Paris: Armand Colin, 1991 )Google Scholar
  5. Jacques Thobie, Gilbert Meynier, Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch and Charles-Robert Ageron, Histoire de la France coloniale, 1914–1990 ( Paris: Armand Colin, 1990 ).Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    On how the Third Republic came to manage the colonies and the role of the colonial lobby within the National Assembly see Stuart Michael Persell, The French Colonial Lobby ( Stanford, CA: Hoover Institution Press, 1983 ).Google Scholar
  7. 5.
    Eric Hobsbawm, The Age of Empire ( London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1987 ).Google Scholar
  8. 6.
    Edward Said, Orientalism ( London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978 )Google Scholar
  9. Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism ( London: Chatto & Windus, 1993 ).Google Scholar
  10. 7.
    On this point see Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples ( London: Faber & Faber, 1992 ), pp. 263–4.Google Scholar
  11. 8.
    On Western perceptions of the Ottoman regency in Algeria and in particular the threat of piracy see Linda Colley, Captives: Britain, Empire and the World 1600–1850 ( London: Jonathan Cape, 2002 ).Google Scholar
  12. 9.
    On the religious justifications for the invasion see Andrew Wheatcroft, Infidels: The Conflict Between Christendom and Islam 638–2002 ( London: Viking, 2003 ).Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    Roger Benjamin (ed.), Orientalism: Delacroix to Klee ( Sydney: The Art Gallery of New South Wales, 1997 ).Google Scholar
  14. See also Jack Cowart, Pierre Schneider, John Elderfield, Albert Kostenevich and Laura Coyle, Matisse in Morocco ( Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1990 ).Google Scholar
  15. 13.
    Rana Kabbani, Europe’s Myths of Orient ( London: Pandora, 1988 ), pp. 79–80.Google Scholar
  16. 15.
    On this point see Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, On Colonialism, Articles from the New York Tribune (New York: International, 1972). On 9 November 1989 I interviewed Roger Rey who was involved in the underground opposition movement to the Algerian war in France. He underlined that in the 1930s his father was a member of the SFIO (Section Française de l’Internationale Ouvrière), a trade unionist and a freemason. Growing up in Oran in the 1930s he remembered how his parents, even if they were on the extreme Left, were nationalist and paternalist. They looked down upon Algerians because they considered themselves to represent a political culture and tradition that was superior to that of the Algerian peasantry. It simply did not enter their heads to question the legitimacy of the French presence in Algeria.Google Scholar
  17. On this point see Martin Evans, The Memory of Resistance: French Opposition to the Algerian War 1954–1962 ( Oxford: Berg, 1997 ), pp. 96–100.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    On this point see Pascal Blanchard and Sandrine Lemaire (eds), Culture coloniale: La France conquise par son empire, 1871–1931 ( Paris: Editions Autrement, 2003 ).Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    For a summary of these debates see Martin Evans, ‘From colonialism to post-colonialism: the French Empire since Napoleon’, in Martin Alexander (ed.), French History Since Napoleon ( London: Edward Arnold, 1999 ).Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    These events are the focus of Mohammed Dib’s 1952 novel La Grande Maison ( Paris; Seuil, 1952 ).Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    The Jews first arrived in North African with the Phoenicians around 1100 BC. Some Berber tribes also converted to Judaism. The numbers in North Africa were augmented by the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492. On the specific history of the Algerian Jews see Joelle Alouche-Benayoun and Doris Benisimon, Les Juifs d’Algérie ( Paris: BHP, 1989 )Google Scholar
  22. Joelle Bahloul, The Architecture of Memory: A Jewish-Muslim Household in Colonial Algeria ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996 ).Google Scholar
  23. See also Leila Sebbar (ed.), Une Enfance Algérienne ( Paris: Gallimard, 1997 )Google Scholar
  24. Which includes childhood recollections of Albert Bensoussan, Hélène Cixous, Annie Cohen and Jean Daniel and Nancy Wood, ‘Remembering the Jews of Algeria’, Parallax, vol. 4, no. 2 (1998), pp. 169–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 23.
    For a perceptive analysis of these polices see Patricia Lorcin, Imperial Identities: Stereotyping, Prejudice and Race in Colonial Algeria ( London: I.B. Tauris, 1995 ).Google Scholar
  26. See also Charles Robert Ageron, Les Algériens Musulmans et la France (1871–1919) ( Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1968 ).Google Scholar
  27. For a local study of the impact of French rule see David Prochaska, Making Algeria French: Colonialism in Bone, 1870–1920 ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990 ).Google Scholar
  28. 24.
    The French were keen to stress that the Arabs had done nothing positive since their arrival in the seventh century AD, so for the settler novelist Louis Bertrand the colonial presence was perfectly natural because they were taking up the Roman heritage that had been allowed to fall into rack and ruin under Muslim domination. On this point see Azzedine Haddour, Colonial Myths, Narratives of Resistance ( Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998 ).Google Scholar
  29. 27.
    For a detailed analysis of Renan’s arguments see Edward Said, The World, the Text, and the Critic ( Cambridge, MA: Havard University Press, 1983 ).Google Scholar
  30. 29.
    For a fascinating insight into Lyautey’s mindset see his letters contained in Pierre Lyautey (ed.), Les plus belles lettres de Lyautey ( Paris: Calmann-Lévy, 1962 ).Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    On this see Alec G. Hargreaves, The Colonial Experience in French Fiction ( London: Macmillan, 1983 ).Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    The colonial exhibits were shown the grounds of the Colonial Garden which was established in Paris in 1899 and modelled on Kew Gardens in Britain and the botanical gardens in Berlin. On this see Robert Aldrich, ‘Vestiges of the Colonial Empire: The Jardin Colonial in Paris in Robert Aldrich and Martin Lyons (eds), The Sphinx in the Tuileries ( Sydney: University of Sydney, 1999 ).Google Scholar
  33. 34.
    On this see Malek Alloula, The Colonial Harem (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986 ). Within this he analyses how many of the orientalist themes were reproduced in posed photographs of Algerian women. The photographs presented the women as inviting and sexually available.Google Scholar
  34. 35.
    On the importance of the colonial setting for films see Ginette Vincendeau, Pépé-le-Moko ( London: BFI, 1998 ).Google Scholar
  35. 38.
    On this see Ferhat Abbas, Le Jeune Algérien: De la colonie vers la province ( Paris: La Jeune Parque, 1931 ).Google Scholar
  36. The failure of reform in Algeria, most notably in 1936, radicalized Ferhat Abbas. In 1958 he became the president of the Provisional Algerian Government in Tunis: see Ferhat Abbas, La Nuit coloniale ( Paris: Julliard, 1962 ).Google Scholar
  37. 39.
    Léopold Senghor, Anthologie de la poésie nègre et malgache ( Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1947 ).Google Scholar
  38. 40.
    Frantz Fanon, Les Damnés de la Terre ( Paris: Maspero, 1961 ).Google Scholar
  39. 41.
    Robert Young, White Mythologies Writing History and the West ( London: Routledge, 1990 ).Google Scholar
  40. 42.
    Alec G. Hargreaves, Immigration and Identity in Beur Fiction: Voices From the North African Community in France (Oxford: Berg, 1997). IAM are a rap group from Marseilles. Their name stands for ‘Invasion Arriving from Mars’ and their first album, De la Planète Mars released in 1991, dealt with issues of racism, exclusion and opposition to the National Front.Google Scholar
  41. 43.
    On this see Max Silverman, Deconstructing the Nation: Immigration, Racism and Citizenship in Modern France ( London: Routledge, 1992 )CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Max Silverman, Facing Postmodernity: Contemporary French Thought on Culture and Society ( London: Routledge, 1999 ).Google Scholar
  43. See aslo Neil MacMaster, Colonial Migrants and Racism: Algerians in France, 1900–62 ( London: Macmillan, 1997 ).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Martin Evans 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Evans

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations