Sexual Violence in the Algerian War

  • Raphaëlle Branche
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)


English-language historians have argued that the category of gender is particularly useful and relevant for understanding the violence of war,1 with rape now clearly identified as a ‘gendered war crime’.2 Very few French historians of the modern period, however, have examined past conflicts from a gender-based perspective. Still, times are changing and analyses of rape and sexual violence, and, more generally, a gender-based approach to wars are becoming less and less unusual in French historical studies.3


Sexual Violence Muslim Woman Male Nurse Disciplinary Measure Gang Rape 
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    In Algeria, Muslims endured social, economic, and political inequalities as members of the native population. But this was not the case for the other religious groups. Algerian Jews, in particular, enjoyed full citizenship since 1870. They were given full citizenship collectively and without being asked individually. By contrast, a Muslim had to apply for citizenship individually, and this process would also lead him to give up his Muslim judicial status. Therefore, being a Muslim and being a native became more related and also meant being discriminated against specifically. The role of Islam in the resistance against the French had been very important already at the beginning of the colonization. It stayed so until the end and was part of the birth of the concept of the Algerian nation from the end of the nineteenth century and even more from the 1920s and 1930s on. See J. McDougall, History and the Culture of Nationalism in Algeria (Cambridge, 2006), p. 266.Google Scholar
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© Raphaëlle Branche 2009

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  • Raphaëlle Branche

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