Current Institutional Affiliation
Doctoral Candidate, Harvard University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2013
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Harvard University
Covert Imperial Statecraft: French Intelligence and the Growth of the Secret State in Interwar Morocco

Covert Imperial Statecraft examines the French Protectorate of Morocco's intelligence apparatus during the years between the First and Second World Wars. It focuses on the methods used on the ground to reconcile the anxieties of French officials in Paris with the counter-hegemonic demands of Moroccans and non-French, foreign actors. Based on preliminary research in French and Moroccan archives, I argue that French civilian officials in Morocco transferred their authority to French intelligence officers in an attempt to halt what they believed was the slow decline of the French Empire. Further, I contend that French intelligence officers created shadow bureaucracies, removed from the constraints of French and international public opinion to offer new solutions to the French Empire's crisis of power. Maintaining order and legitimacy required renewed engagement with Moroccans as well as rival European powers active in the Mediterranean. Yet, the shift from civilian rule to an intelligence state offered embattled French politicians, Moroccans who could not be seen as cooperating with a colonial power, and foreigners who had no official reason for competing with French colonial order, the plausible deniability needed when interacting with one another. All sides had indeed reached an unproductive stalemate that they would try to overcome through political and economic means during the 1920s and 1930s.