Cloth $85.00 ISBN: 9780226123608 Published May 2014
Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226123745 Published May 2014
E-book $7.00 to $27.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226123882 Published May 2014

Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria

Sarah Abrevaya Stein

Sarah Abrevaya Stein

272 pages | 27 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2014
Cloth $85.00 ISBN: 9780226123608 Published May 2014
Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226123745 Published May 2014
E-book $7.00 to $27.50 About E-books ISBN: 9780226123882 Published May 2014
The history of Algerian Jews has thus far been viewed from the perspective of communities on the northern coast, who became, to some extent, beneficiaries of colonialism.  But to the south, in the Sahara, Jews faced a harsher colonial treatment. In Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria, Sarah Abrevaya Stein asks why the Jews of Algeria’s south were marginalized by French authorities, how they negotiated the sometimes brutal results, and what the reverberations have been in the postcolonial era.
Drawing on materials from thirty archives across six countries, Stein tells the story of colonial imposition on a desert community that had lived and traveled in the Sahara for centuries. She paints an intriguing historical picture—of an ancient community, trans-Saharan commerce, desert labor camps during World War II, anthropologist spies, battles over oil, and the struggle for Algerian sovereignty. Writing colonialism and decolonization into Jewish history and Jews into the French Saharan one, Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria is a fascinating exploration not of Jewish exceptionalism but of colonial power and its religious and cultural differentiations, which have indelibly shaped the modern world. 
Joshua Schreier, Vassar College
Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria is a fascinating and extremely well-researched book. It is imaginative, quite original, broad in scope, and deals with a truly understudied topic: the small community of Jews of the M’zab valley in the Algerian Sahara. Stein uses their experience to highlight a number of fascinating episodes in Jewish, French, Algerian, and even American history, and as such it will appeal to a wide audience.”
Benjamin C. Brower, University of Texas at Austin
“This wonderfully told story breaks new ground in the history of North Africa. Stein brings the Mzabi Jews of the Sahara into the main currents of colonial-era Algerian history for the first time. She shows clearly how colonial texts produced Mzabi Jews as the archaic vestiges of a ‘lost tribe,’ and how this version was recycled into the work of the anthropologists, philanthropists, and administrators who wrote the rules that gave form to Mzabi Jews as political subjects. Saharan Jews and the Fate of French Algeria admirably pulls Mzabi Jews from the footnotes, and like the very best work of historians it gives rise to a critical interrogation of the present.”
Julia Clancy-Smith, University of Arizona
“Stein’s compelling study takes us into the vexed spaces where nation and empire, family and colony, religion and the state, and knowledge and law converged and collided. By situating ‘Saharan Jews’ at multiple, unsteady historical margins, the book argues that colonial military legislation and policy called into existence this ‘Southern Algerian’ indigenous community. Scholars of the Middle East and North Africa have long fixated upon the Orientalist East-West divide, but Stein’s masterful account redirects attention to the genealogies of North and South through a sort of micro-history set in motion that never loses sight of the big story.”
Note on Translation and Transliterations
Prologue: The Lost Archive
Introduction: Inventing Indigeneity
Chapter 1. Anthropology and the Ghost of the Colonial Past
Chapter 2. Jews Northern and Southern: The French Annexation of the Mzab and the Boundaries of Colonial Law
Chapter 3. Governing Typologies: From the Conquest of the Mzab to the Touggourt/Dreyfus Affair
Chapter 4. Contested Access: Conscription, Public Health, and Education from the Fin de Siècle through the Interwar Period
Chapter 5. Saharan Battlegrounds: From the Vichy Regime to a Postwar World
Chapter 6. Oil, the Algerian War of Independence, and Competing Stories of Departure
Conclusion: Colonial Shadows
Epilogue: Dark Matter
Abbreviations of Archival and Library Collections
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