[P4927] Occupying Space: Land, Religion, Power in Colonial North Africa

Created by Alexandra Blackman
Sunday, 11/19/17 8:00am


Controlling land is a critical way in which a government projects authority and controls access to economic and political power. Using historical and archival data, this panel explores how the French colonial administrations in North Africa sought to exert control over territory, as well as the concomitant contention over the expansion of the colonial state into new spaces. It includes a range of papers that explore the development and deployment of state power over land by the French colonial governments. This panel asks: Through what means did the French administration exert its power over space in its colonies? How did people and organizations in North Africa mobilize in response to the French policies? What are the institutional legacies of the French colonial state?

Each of this panel's papers provides an in-depth account of how the French administration approached the task of controlling space in Algeria and Tunisia. In particular, the French were preoccupied with limiting the influence of religious institutions and attempted to rein in their independence through policies that limited the institutions' reach.

The papers in this panel also address how transformations of and historical conflicts with these institutions influences contemporary politics. Questions regarding state control of religious institutions or state domination of land resources have returned to the fore, especially in the wake of the Arab uprisings.


Pol Science




Robert P. Parks

(Centre d'Études Maghrébines en Algérie)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

James McDougall

(Trinity College, Oxford)
Panel Participating Role(s): Discussant;

Brock Cutler

(Radford University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;

Chantal Berman

(Princeton University)
Panel Participating Role(s): Chair;

Alexandra Blackman

(Stanford University)
PhD candidate at Stanford University
Panel Participating Role(s): Organizer; Presenter;

Michelle Weitzel

(New School for Social Research)
Panel Participating Role(s): Presenter;