Abstract

This article investigates the political and social environments in Paris and Tunis at a time of heightened anxiety concerning the ghetto in each city. Examining the Saint-Gervais ghetto in Paris and the hara ghetto in Tunis, I find that two dramatically divergent strategies of municipal sanitary intervention emerge. In Paris, city officials' approach to cleansing Saint-Gervais was halting, haphazard, and ultimately occurred under tragic circumstances during World War II. In contrast, the Tunis Municipal Council, at the behest of French and Tunisian Jews, acted swiftly and compassionately (at least in their view) to expropriate and raze the hara and rehouse the displaced Jews. Whereas the primary concern of Paris's municipal officials was maintaining the socioeconomic status quo of landowners and their wealthy allies, their Tunisian counterparts were envisioning a bold, almost utopian, Jewish quarter modeled on an idealized concept of French modernity and bourgeois domesticity.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2028
Print ISSN
0021-6704
Pages
pp. 67-87
Launched on MUSE
2011-08-13
Open Access
No
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