By Osama Abi-Mershed

Among 1830 and 1870, French military officials serving within the colonial workplaces of Arab Affairs profoundly altered the process political decision-making in Algeria. Guided via the modernizing ideologies of the Saint-Simonian institution of their improvement and implementation of colonial coverage, the officials articulated a brand new doctrine and framework for governing the Muslim and ecu populations of Algeria. Apostles of Modernity indicates the evolution of this civilizing venture in Algeria, and illustrates how those forty years have been decisive in shaping the crucial ideological tenets in French colonization of the region.This publication deals a rethinking of 19th-century French colonial historical past. It finds not just what the increase of Europe implied for the cultural identities of non-elite heart Easterners and North Africans, but additionally what dynamics have been eager about the imposition or neighborhood adoptions of ecu cultural norms and the way the colonial stumble upon impacted the cultural identities of the colonizers themselves.

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Extra info for Apostles of Modernity: Saint-Simonians and the Civilizing Mission in Algeria

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50 For Saint-Simon, humankind had proceeded at unequal pace through three historical stages: theological, metaphysical, and, fi nally, scientific or positive. 51 Each historical transition had resulted from the breakdown in the ideological and spiritual certainties of the ruling age. Thus, Catholic Europe had parted ways with the Muslim Orient when positive thinking overthrew metaphysical speculation during the seventeenth century and came to govern the abstract European sciences by the late eighteenth century.

With the benefit of more cogent assessments of the colony and its inhabitants, the commissioners opened their eyes to the pitfalls in official a priori decision making, and indeed, they returned to Paris with conclusions that countermanded the dispatches and studies of 1828–1830. By advising the royal government to abandon the “dangerous illusion” of assimilation in Algeria, the commission reports of 1833–1834 hinted at dissension within the emerging colonial edifice and growing dissatisfaction with the imprecise, totalizing imperatives of the civilizing mission.

Georges Voisin (pseudonym of Ismaÿl Urbain), L’Algérie pour les Algériens 2 ; This is the account of a departure in France’s political decision making in Algeria and, more notably, in the ideological justifications for its colonial rule. The decisive turn occurred in the late 1840s and was driven by the administrative ascendance of a group of colonial officers serving in military intelligence units known as the Bureaux of Arab Affairs (Bureaux arabes). During the 1830s and 1840s, these specialized officers would parlay their technical expertise and their competence to speak to security concerns into political clout and steadily position themselves as the government’s ultimate arbiters on native matters.

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