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City University of New York (CUNY)

Theses/Dissertations

Decolonization

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The French Revolution In The French-Algerian War (1954-1962): Historical Analogy And The Limits Of French Historical Reason, Timothy Scott Johnson Sep 2016

The French Revolution In The French-Algerian War (1954-1962): Historical Analogy And The Limits Of French Historical Reason, Timothy Scott Johnson

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This dissertation examines the use of the French Revolution as an explanatory device for discussing the French-Algerian War (1954-1962). Anticolonial intellectuals in France invoked the French Revolution to explain their reasons for supporting colonial reform as well as their solidarity with Algerian nationalist aims. Through an examination of intellectuals’ public interventions alongside French and Algerian historical narratives, I examine the ways in which historical alignment signaled political and cultural distance between France and Algeria. Making an independent Algeria analogous to eighteenth-century revolutionary France lent political and conceptual legitimacy to Algerian claims to an independent national identity while also reinforcing the ...