Manuel Borutta: After La Méditerranée. France, Algeria, and the Mediterranean


Even if France does not consider itself as a Mediterranean nation, the Mediterranean strongly influenced the formation of modern French imperial and national identity. Since the 19th century the Mediterranean Sea was described as a French lake, and the French Maghreb was depicted as a southern extension of the Hexagon. In 1848, Algeria was even declared an integral part of the national territory. This review article explores the Mediterranean dimension of French history by focussing on French Algeria (1830-1962). Firstly, it addresses the relationship of scientific knowledge on the Mediterranean and colonial power in Algeria. Furthermore, it highlights material interventions in urban spaces of the French Maghreb and the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Other topics are the two-way migration between Southern Europe and North Africa during the colonial and the postcolonial period and the geopolitical, historical and mythological meaning of the Mediterranean for modern France and contemporary Europe. The essay concludes by discussing if and how the Mediterranean served as an analytical category and a spatial framework for a new conceptualization of European history.

The following titles were discussed i.a.:
Deprest, F.: Géographes en Algérie 1880-1950 (406); Scioldo-Zürcher, Y.: Devenir métropolitain (406); Schenk, F. B./Winkler, M. (Hrsg.): Der Süden (407); Blais, H./Fredj, C./Saada, E. (Hrsg.): L'Algérie coloniale au XIXe siècle (408); Singaravélou, P. (Hrsg.): L’empire des géographes (408); Çelik, Z.: Empire, architecture and the city (410); Çelik, Z./Clancy-Smith, J./Terpak, F. (Hrsg.): Walls of Algiers (411); Clancy-Smith, J.: Mediterraneans (412); Shepard, T.: The Invention of Decolonization (415); Verdès-Leroux, J. (Hrsg.): L'Algérie et la France (415); Esclangon-Morin, V.: Les Rapatriés d'Afrique du Nord de 1956 à nos jours (417); Stora, B.: Histoire de l'Algérie coloniale (418); Gourevitch, J.: Le rêve méditerranéen d'Ulysse à Nicolas Sarkozy (419); Petricioli, M. (Hrsg.): L'Europe méditerranéenne (419); Bono, S.: Un altro mediterraneo (421); Chambers, I.: Mediterranean Crossings (422)

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