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Algerians without Borders

The Making of a Global Frontier Society

Allan Christelow

Publication Year: 2012

This account of Algeria through its migratory history begins in the last quarter of the eighteenth century by looking at forced migration through the slave trade. It moves through the colonial era and continues into Algeria’s turbulent postcolonial experience.

In Algerians without Borders, Allan Christelow examines the factors that have drawn or pushed Algerians to cross borders, both literal and metaphoric. He provides an in-depth analysis of the results of these crossings: from problematic efforts to secure external support for political projects, to building interfaith dialogue and the exploration of new ideas, to the emergence of new communities. He also investigates the return of border crossers to Algeria and the challenges they face in adapting to new environments, whether negotiating alliances, engaging in dialogue, or simply seeking legal acceptance.

Christelow concludes with a discussion of the last few decades of Algerian history. He explores how Algerian intellectuals operated outside of the country's borders, spurred on by the rise of Islamism as well as by freer dialogues with Western powers, specifically Britain and the United States. The result is an alternate history of Algeria that demonstrates just how much its citizens' engagement with other societies has transformed the country.

Published by: University Press of Florida

Title Page

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pp. ix-xi

The experiences that have contributed to the making of this book go back to the fall of 1971, when I first entered a classroom as an English teacher at Lycée Moubarek El Mili in Annaba, Algeria. The students were classified as arabisant, taking most of their classes in Arabic at a time when the government of Algeria was proudly proclaiming its commitment to a return to Algeria’s Arabic cultural identity. Many of these students came from rural areas outside...

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Note on Transcription

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pp. xiii

The transcription of Arabic names presents a challenge for those working on Algerian history who draw on both Arabic- and European-language sources. The Arabic transcription system of the Library of Congress produces spellings sometimes quite different from the spelling of the name found in Frenchor other European-language sources. The solution chosen for this book is to use the standard transcription for “first” or given names, and the most common...

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Introduction: A People on a Frontier of Civilizations

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pp. 1-23

Unfortunately the bonds between us are all but forgotten, as politics interferes in the dialogue between religions. This is especially true since the Cold War ended, a finale that gave birth to many ethnic unrests and fundamentalisms— which, to be fair, are an understandable enough response, an attempt to preserve...

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1. A Failed Transformation, 1775–1830

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pp. 24-39

Algerian rulers in the turbulent era of the late 1700s and early 1800s faced multiple challenges. They needed new technology, especially in the domains of firearms and shipbuilding, both to defend Algeria and to aid the Ottoman Empire as it faced Russian expansion. They had to come up with the financial resources to pay for such technology, to support their military forces, and to pay...

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2. Colonial-Era Border Crossing, 1830–1911

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pp. 50-81

The French colonial conquest dramatically reshaped patterns of Algerian border crossing. Force, or resistance to force, was a major factor in the movement of Algerians to other Muslim territories. At the outset, the French expelled the Janissaries based in Algiers to Anatolia, and they soon banished individuals,...

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3. The Last Jihad and the End of Hijra,1911–1920

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pp. 82-107

As the French became increasingly engaged in conflicts with rival European powers in the 1890s and early 1900s, they grew more reliant on their ability to recruit colonial subjects for their service, especially in Algeria. They mobilized Algerians, bringing them to France as workers and military conscripts...

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4. Exchange and Innovation in the Revolutionary Era

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pp. 108-140

With the end of the First World War, Algeria entered a new phase. North Africa was no longer a theater of imperial rivalry. Algerians no longer had roles in conquering new territories for the French empire and thus winning a privileged status within the imperial order....

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5. Algerians in an Age of Globalization

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pp. 141-173

Since the 1970s, new patterns of border crossing have taken root among Algerians, shaped not only by difficult conditions within Algeria and long-term demographic trends, but also by restrictions on movement to France and new developments in global politics and labor markets.1 From Algeria’s independence in 1962 through the early 1970s, there had been considerable hope for...

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Conclusion. The Dynamics of Fear and Hope on a Frontier between Civilizations

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pp. 174-186

“Neither plague nor cholera!” This was a popular refrain among many Algerians as the conflict between Islamists and the government spun out of control in the 1990s. This formula can be taken as a metaphor condemning both an authoritarian government dominated by the military and Islamist radicals prepared...

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Epilogue. ‘Asabiya in the Digital Age

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pp. 187-188

On December 17, 2010, Muhammad Bouazizi, a twenty-six-year-old fruit-and vegetable seller in the streets of Sidi Bouzid, a town in central Tunisia, set himself on fire. This was his response to the local authorities having confiscated his...


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pp. 189-190


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pp. 191-214


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pp. 215-240


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pp. 241-251

E-ISBN-13: 9780813040387
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813037554
Print-ISBN-10: 0813037557

Page Count: 266
Publication Year: 2012