The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France by Todd ShepardThe Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France by Todd Shepard

The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of France

byTodd Shepard

Paperback | February 7, 2008

Pricing and Purchase Info

$38.10 online 
$38.95 list price
Earn 191 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


In this account of the Algerian War's effect on French political structures and notions of national identity, Todd Shepard asserts that the separation of Algeria from France was truly a revolutionary event with lasting consequences for French social and political life. For more than a century, Algeria had been legally and administratively part of France; after the bloody war that concluded in 1962, it was other—its eight million Algerian residents deprived of French citizenship while hundreds of thousands of French pieds noirs were forced to return to a country that was never home. This rupture violated the universalism that had been the essence of French republican theory since the late eighteenth century. Shepard contends that because the amputation of Algeria from the French body politic was accomplished illegally and without explanation, its repercussions are responsible for many of the racial and religious tensions that confront France today. In portraying decolonization as an essential step in the inexorable "tide of history," the French state absolved itself of responsibility for the revolutionary change it was effecting. It thereby turned its back not only on the French of Algeria—Muslims in particular—but also on its own republican principles and the 1958 Constitution. From that point onward, debates over assimilation, identity, and citizenship—once focused on the Algerian "province/colony"—have troubled France itself. In addition to grappling with questions of race, citizenship, national identity, state institutions, and political debate, Shepard also addresses debates in Jewish history, gender history, and queer theory.
Title:The Invention of Decolonization: The Algerian War and the Remaking of FranceFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.31 inPublished:February 7, 2008Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:080147454X

ISBN - 13:9780801474545

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Chronology of French Occupation of Algeria


Part I; The Making and Forgetting of French Algeria
1. Muslim French Citizens from Algeria: A Short History
2. Inventing Decolonization
3. The "Tide of History" versus the Laws of the Republic
4. Forgetting French Algeria

Part II: Between France and Algeria
5. Making Algerians
6. Repatriation Rather Than Aliyah: The Jews of France and the End of French Algeria
7. Veiled "Muslim" Women, Violent Pied Noir Men, and the Family of France: Gender, Sexuality, and Ethnic Difference

Part III: The Exodus and After
8. Repatriating the Europeans
9. Rejecting the Muslims
10. The Post-Algerian Republic

Conclusion: Forgetting Algerian France

Bibliography of Primary Sources

Editorial Reviews

"The Algerian War has attracted huge attention in France during the last ten years. Most historians, however, have assumed that their task is simply to describe the workings of an apparently unstoppable process and they have, to a large extent, concentrated on the behavior of the French army. Todd Shepard's book approaches this debate from a new angle. Partly by looking through a wide lens—one that encompasses everything from Brigitte Bardot to Gaston Monnerville—and partly by taking the arguments in defense of Algérie Française seriously, he shows how departure from Algeria helped to create a new idea of Frenchnesss. This is an important book with implications for the current state of France as well as for many aspects of French history between 1830 and 1962."—Richard Vinen, King's College, London