Tag Archives | minorities

Past and present, colony and metropolis. By Jim House.

Dr James (Jim) House is a Senior Lecturer in French at Leeds University. With co-author Neil MacMaster (UEA, Norwich) he has published Paris 1961: Algerians, State Terror, and Memory (Oxford University Press, 2006). This book also received a French translation in 2008 (Tallandier publishers). Our thanks goes to Professor Margaret Majumdar for her help. Past and present, colony and metropolis. Recent months in France have seen a number of prominent and disturbing cases of alleged police violence against racialized minorities. In circumstances such as these, historians are often asked by journalists and civil society groups to assess how and to what extent the colonial past influences the present, notably here with regard to postcolonial minorities, policing, socio-ethnic segregation, and racism. In discussing these themes, my article will argue that we often need to be cautious when claims are made for a strong similarity (if not identical situation) between past and present, an assumption that seems often to inform many of the questions I receive. It is precisely the historian’s role to examine the ‘space’ that exists between what may indeed be similar yet which is not identical between past and present. Rather like with debates on the usefulness or not of the […]

Continue Reading 0

North Africa: a complex cultural miscellany (Part II)

The following is the second part of Dr Kamal Salhi’s reflections on problems relating to culture in North Africa. The first part appeared on 16 May 2017 and is available under ‘Related Posts’, and can also be found via the ‘Archive’ tab. Thanks go to Dr Margaret Majumdar for her assistance. North Africa: a complex cultural miscellany (Part II) Culture is not constituted solely by our collective images of ourselves, but also by our collective images of others. And those inherited images may be utterly destructive. The mere fact that a habit of mind is authentic does not mean that it is helpful. Prejudices, patronizing generalizations, false assumptions, and contemptuous attitudes may be deeply rooted, venerable, and steeped in tradition. Conversely, toleration and a willingness to embrace diversity and sympathy for people unlike ourselves may be the products of very recent experience: hence the hasty description of cultures or peoples who lack any official status as ‘minority’ or ‘marginalized’ groups, even though in North Africa they actually make up a majority of the population and have deeper roots there than the ruling caste. North Africans may eventually develop a way of describing the pre-colonial cultures in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Egypt by reference […]

Continue Reading 0