Martin Thomas
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Anti-colonial nationalism
The examples of Algeria and Tunisia
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This chapter discusses forms of public opposition to empire in two North African territories that typified the differing strands of republican imperialism in the inter-war period. Official commitment to assimilationism in Algeria stood in marked contrast to indirect, associationist rule in the Tunisian protectorate. Nationalist protest in Tunisia provides a useful comparison with events in Algeria. The Brussels congress signified a fundamental shift in Algerian nationalism. In late nineteenth-century Algeria the Islamic revivalist movement Nahda sought to protect Muslim culture against the corrosive effects of French colonisation. The centralised structure of the imperial system, and its hegemonic assertion of French cultural supremacy, encouraged indigenous elites from Vietnam to Morocco to send their sons to study in colonial lycees or in metropolitan universities. Articulate, francophone colonial students supplied the cadres and journalistic voices of what Mahfoud Kaddache terms the avant-garde revolutionnaire of anti-colonial nationalism.

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The French empire between the wars

Imperialism, Politics and Society


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