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  • Preface
  • Leslie Choquette

As the new editor of French Colonial History, I am pleased to present this collection of essays representing the broad scholarly interests of members of the French Colonial Historical Society. The volume consists largely of papers delivered at the 31st annual meeting of the Society in Wolfville, Nova Scotia; however, it also reflects the Society's new policy of allowing members to submit articles to the journal not previously presented at one of our conferences. We hope that this more flexible policy will benefit members who are ready to publish their research but unable to attend a particular conference.

The 11 essays that follow are divided by region and arranged in approximately chronological order within each region. The four essays on New France, France's first empire in North America, range from Thomas Peace's linguistic study of seventeenth-century terms for Native Americans to the presentation of the archaeology of Fort St. Joseph in Michigan by José Brandão and Michael Nassaney. Benoît Grenier and Jan Noel both focus on social history—Grenier on the often harmonious relations between habitants and resident seigneurs, Noel on the widespread participation of women in the fur trade. Noel's paper, which calls for a reexamination of earlier interpretations of women in New France, including her own, argues that female economic participation was the rule in preindustrial societies, such that economically active women in New France were simply part of the norm.

The next four essays explore France's nineteenth- and twentieth-century empire in North Africa from the standpoint of both intellectual and social history. Mourad Ali-Khodja acquaints us with a lesser-known Orientalist Tocqueville who championed the colonization of Algeria, while Phillip Naylor analyzes the impact of a century of colonialism on the formation of Algerian intellectual Malek Bennabi. Christelle Taraud, [End Page vii] winner of the 2004 Heggoy Prize for her book La prostitution coloniale : Algérie, Tunisie, Maroc (1830-1962), and Sara Kimble consider aspects of the condition of North African women between the World Wars. Kimble elucidates the often Orientalist views of French feminists with regard to their Muslim counterparts, and Taraud describes the coercive system for regulating indigenous prostitution established in colonial Casablanca.

In the third section, Marie Pineau-Salaün examines the problem of republican schooling in the colonial context of the Pacific island of New Caledonia; in the last, Reine-Claude Grondin and Armelle Mabon look at colonial ideas and peoples as they circulated within the metropolis. Grondin's essay discusses the reception of colonialist discourse in a rural French province, the Limousin, and Mabon's considers the fate of the 70,000 French colonial soldiers who were taken prisoner during World War II.

I would like to thank the former editors of French Colonial History, Robert DuPlessis and Patricia Galloway, for their advice and counsel. I can only hope to emulate the high standard that they have set. I am also grateful to the authors, to the members of the editorial board for their work as referees, and to the staff of Michigan State University Press for their consistent helpfulness, patience with a neophyte, and efficiency.

Leslie Choquette
Assumption College


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