Ian Coller: Arab France

Napoleon’s ‘in-betweens’

Robert Aldrich


Arab France: Islam and the Making of Modern Europe, 1798–1831
by Ian Coller
University of California Press (Inbooks)
$39.95 pb, 304 pp, 9780520260658


‘Arab France’ will immediately suggest to some readers debates about the wearing of Muslim headscarves in public schools and, more generally, about the place of North African migrants in contemporary French life, as well as the riots that erupted in 2005 in suburbs with substantial Arabic populations. To others, it may evoke memories of trips to Paris, of sipping mint tea at the elegant mosque near the Jardin des Plantes, visiting an exhibition at the Institut du Monde Arabe, or strolling through the busy and dépaysant Barbès-Rochechouart neighbourhood. For still others, Arab France may bring to mind the history of French colonialism in the Maghreb and the Middle East, in particular, the troubled history of Algérie Française, and the bloody war that brought to an end the French imperium in North Africa in 1962.

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Published in April 2011 no. 330
Robert Aldrich

Robert Aldrich

Robert Aldrich is Professor of European History at the University of Sydney, author of Vestiges of the Colonial Empire in France: Monuments, Museums and Colonial Memories (2005), and editor of The Age of Empires (2007). His latest book, Gay Life Stories (2012), was reviewed by Brian McFarlane in the June 2012 issue of ABR.


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