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Resurrecting the Granary of Rome Cover

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Resurrecting the Granary of Rome

Environmental History and French Colonial Expansion in North Africa

Diana K. Davis

Tales of deforestation and desertification in North Africa have been told from the Roman period to the present. Such stories of environmental decline in the Maghreb are still recounted by experts and are widely accepted without question today. International organizations such as the United Nations frequently invoke these inaccurate stories to justify environmental conservation and development projects in the arid and semiarid lands in North Africa and around the Mediterranean basin. Recent research in arid lands ecology and new paleoecological evidence, however, do not support many claims of deforestation, overgrazing, and desertification in this region.

Diana K. Davis’s pioneering analysis reveals the critical influence of French scientists and administrators who established much of the purported scientific basis of these stories during the colonial period in Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia, illustrating the key role of environmental narratives in imperial expansion. The processes set in place by the use of this narrative not only systematically disadvantaged the majority of North Africans but also led to profound changes in the landscape, some of which produced the land degradation that continues to plague the Maghreb today.

Resurrecting the Granary of Rome exposes many of the political, economic, and ideological goals of the French colonial project in these arid lands and the resulting definition of desertification that continues to inform global environmental and development projects. The first book on the environmental history of the Maghreb, this volume reframes much conventional thinking about the North African environment. Davis’s book is essential reading for those interested in global environmental history.

Saharan Frontiers Cover

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Saharan Frontiers

Space and Mobility in Northwest Africa

Edited by James McDougall and Judith Scheele

The Sahara has long been portrayed as a barrier that divides the Mediterranean world from Africa proper and isolates the countries of the Maghrib from their southern and eastern neighbors. Rather than viewing the desert as an isolating barrier, this volume takes up historian Fernand Braudel's description of the Sahara as "the second face of the Mediterranean." The essays recast the history of the region with the Sahara at its center, uncovering a story of densely interdependent networks that span the desert's vast expanse. They explore the relationship between the desert's "islands" and "shores" and the connections and commonalities that unite the region. Contributors draw on extensive ethnographic and historical research to address topics such as trade and migration; local notions of place, territoriality, and movement; Saharan cities; and the links among ecological, regional, and world-historical approaches to understanding the Sahara.

Screening Integration Cover

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Screening Integration

Recasting Maghrebi Immigration in Contemporary France

Sylvie Durmelat

North African immigrants, once confined to France’s social and cultural margins, have become a strong presence in France’s national life. Similarly, descendants of immigrants from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia have gained mainstream recognition as filmmakers and as the subject of films. The first collective volume on this topic, Screening Integration offers a sustained critical analysis of this cinema. In particular, contributors evaluate how Maghrebi films have come to participate in, promote, and, at the same time, critique France’s integration. In the process, these essays reflect on the conditions that allowed for the burgeoning of this cinema in the first place, as well as on the social changes the films delineate.

Screening Integration brings together established scholars in the fields of postcolonial, Francophone, and film studies to address the latest developments in this cinematic production. These authors explore the emergence of various genres that recast the sometimes fossilized idea of ethnic difference. Screening Integration provides a much-needed reference for those interested in comprehending the complex shifts in twenty-first-century French cinema and in the multicultural social formations that have become an integral part of contemporary France in the new millennium.

Screens and Veils Cover

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Screens and Veils

Maghrebi Women's Cinema

Florence Martin

Examined within their economic, cultural, and political context, the work of women Maghrebi filmmakers forms a cohesive body of work. Florence Martin examines the intersections of nation and gender in seven films, showing how directors turn around the politics of the gaze as they play with the various meanings of the Arabic term hijab (veil, curtain, screen). Martin analyzes these films on their own theoretical terms, developing the notion of "transvergence" to examine how Maghrebi women's cinema is flexible, playful, and transgressive in its themes, aesthetics, narratives, and modes of address. These are distinctive films that traverse multiple cultures, both borrowing from and resisting the discourses these cultures propose.

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Triumph of the Expert

Agrarian Doctrines of Development and the Legacies of British Colonialism

Joseph Morgan Hodge

The most striking feature of British colonialism in the twentieth century was the confidence it expressed in the use of science and expertise, especially when joined with the new bureaucratic capacities of the state, to develop natural and human resources of the empire.Triumph of the Expert is a history of British colonial doctrine and its contribution to the emergence of rural development and environmental policiesin the late colonial and postcolonial period. Joseph Morgan Hodge examines the way that development as a framework of ideas and institutional practicesemerged out of the strategic engagement between science and the state at the climax of the British Empire. Hodge looks intently at the structural constraints, bureaucratic fissures, and contradictory imperatives that beset and ultimately overwhelmed the late colonial development mission in sub-Saharan Africa, south and southeast Asia, and the Caribbean.Triumph of the Expert seeks to understand the quandaries that led up to the important transformation in British imperial thought and practice and the intellectual and administrative legacies it left behind.

Women, Gender, and the Palace Households in Ottoman Tunisia Cover

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Women, Gender, and the Palace Households in Ottoman Tunisia

By Amy Aisen Kallander

This examination of Tunisia’s ruling family between 1700 and 1900 reveals the significance of the palace and the crucial political and economic roles women played in the family’s relationship with the imperial government.

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