[P4460] North Africa: a forgotten front during the First World War?
Created by Odile Moreau
Saturday, 11/19/16 2:00pm
SUMMARY:This panel will bring together scholars to present their work in progress on North Africa during the First World War. In addition to the participation to French war effort, North Africa itself was a vast space involved in the First World War, a place of confrontation and sometime of clashes. Aiming at outreaching eurocentrism, our papers are addressing a double challenge: to reintegrate North Africa in the course of the First World War and to conceptualise its participation at a broader scale than its involvement in the battlefield on the European continent.
We will analyze cases that shade light on the racial and colonial aspects of WWI in North Africa, the conflicting and evolving attitudes of Muslims during the First World War to address the dilemna faced as Muslims within colonial regimes who were confronted by conflicting loyalties. The Great War will be considered as a time of identity construction, reconstruction and deconstruction. These identities in transition will also be analysed from the point of view of language: the methods developed to teach French language in the army and its diffusion in North Africa; war experience of Muslims individuals through literary writings. In fact, personal documents published during the war were intended to serve propaganda purposes, such as the publication in French and German by the Algerian officier Rabah Abdallah Boukabouya who had deserted in 1915. In addition, interactions in North Africa between international and local actors will be discussed: Ottoman-German support to Moroccan resistance through propaganda and local uprisings, and at the level of international relations, the ambiguities and aspirations of US-Morocco relations.
Such an approach should allow us to look at North Africa during the First World War, illuminating new aspects of Mediterranean social cultural history and politics.