Cite: Shepard, Algerian Nationalism, Zionism, and French Laïcité

Shepard, Todd. “Algerian Nationalism, Zionism, and French Laïcité: A History of Ethnoreligious Nationalisms and Decolonization.” International Journal of Middle East Studies 45.3 (2013): 445-67.





he Algerian war resituated the meaning of “Muslims” and “Jews” in France
in relation to religion and “origins” and this process reshaped French
secular nationhood, with Algerian independence in mid-1962 crystallizing
a complex and shifting debate that took shape in the interwar period
and blossomed between 1945 and 1962. In its failed efforts to keep all
Algerians French, the French government responded to both Algerian
nationalism and, as is less known, Zionism, and did so with policies
that took seriously, rather than rejected, the so-called ethnoreligious
arguments that they embraced—and that, according to existing
scholarship, have always been anathema to French laïcité. Most scholars
on France continue to presume that its history is national or wholly
“European.” Yet paying attention to this transnational confrontation,
driven by claims from Algeria and Israel, emphasizes the crucial roles
of North African and Mediterranean developments in the making of
contemporary France.

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