Mobilising memory : the Great War and the language of politics in colonial Algeria, 1918-1939
Title: Mobilising memory : the Great War and the language of politics in colonial Algeria, 1918-1939
Author: HASSETT, Dónal
Citation: Florence : European University Institute, 2016
Series/Number: EUI PhD theses; Department of History and Civilization
Mobilising Memory traces the political legacies of the participation of the citizens and subjects of colonial Algeria in the First World War. Focused on the analysis of rhetoric, this thesis points to the existence of a common political language anchored in the Great War that transcended the boundaries which defined politics and daily life in French-occupied Algeria. It demonstrates the utility of applying concepts from First World War Studies to postwar societies beyond Europe, arguing for an integrated approach combining methodologies from the fields of colonial history and the history of the Great War. Over the course of six chapters, it analyses the place of the Great War in the political language of actors as diverse as activists from the extreme right, the Left, the movements of indigenous reform, the veterans' movement and the nationalist movement, as well as individual war victims, Algerians migrants in Paris, and their interlocutors in the colonial regime. All sought to renegotiate the postwar colonial order by evoking the Great War. However, a shared language did not necessarily result in mutual intelligibility. Rather, political actors would pit different narratives of the colony's wartime contribution against each other as they competed to impose their own visions of a reconfigured imperial polity. The evocation of the Great War would prove a particularly unwieldy strategy, with actors struggling to reconcile rhetoric with the reality of politics in a colonial society. The many unintended consequences of articulating political programmes in the language of the Great War, explored in depth in this thesis, expose the key tensions underlying political action in a colonial context. By highlighting the potential potency and pitfalls of evoking the Great War, this thesis elucidates the rival, and often contradictory, visions of alternative imperial futures promoted by political actors of all ethnic, religious and ideological backgrounds in interwar Algeria.
LC Subject Heading: World War, 1914-1918 -- Algeria; Collective memory -- Algeria; Algeria -- History -- 1830-1962
Defence date: 7 June 2016; Examining Board: Professor Ann Thomson, (EUI); Professor Laura Downs, (EUI); Professor Sylvie Thénault, (CNRS); Professor John Horne, (Trinity College Dublin).
Type of Access: embargoedAccess