Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2009
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, State University of New York (SUNY) / Binghamton University
The Afterlives of Empire: Immigration and the Politics of Difference in Decolonized France, 1962-1974

This project examines the banlieue, the French suburb, and the harki camp, assimilatory camps established throughout rural France in 1962 to house migrating Algerian peasants, as two examples of condensed imperial space, or as racialized sites of immigration in which North African immigrants were subject to the assimilatory mechanisms of the French state. In the years that followed the end of the Algerian War, unprecedented numbers of formerly colonized North Africans sought inclusion in metropolitan France and this analysis thus extends from the moment of Algerian Independence in 1962 through the national suspension of immigration in 1974. While historians typically regard the banlieue and the harki camp as spaces of exclusion from postcolonial French society, I will explore these spaces in tandem as correlations within a wider scope of colonial politics internal to the operations of the decolonized nation-state. By juxtaposing these seemingly disparate contexts, this project investigates how metropolitan politicians, immigration officials, and social reformers sought to discipline and assimilate the female body in particular, and how their efforts reflected a broader attempt to integrate the North African community as a whole. Most importantly, an examination of the gendered modes of surveillance that policed the boundaries between immigrant populations and the ethnic French permits a larger critique of the limitations of postcolonial citizenship in the tumultuous years which followed the Algerian War.