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Colonial Control in Algeria: the French Security and Intelligence Services between the Two World Wars

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Speaker(s): Dr Rabah Aissaoui

Recorded on 28 January 2013 in 1.04, New Academic Building.

In colonial Algeria, the social, ethnic and religious dividing lines of colonial society remained marked in the interwar period, and the political tensions that traditionally characterised the colonial relationship became particularly acute in the context of the rise of Algerian nationalism during the 1930s. The emergence of Algerian nationalist activism during that period coincided with the celebrations marking the apogee of the French colonial empire.

This presentation seeks to examine some key developments in the political mobilisation of Algerians prior to the Second World War and how the French colonial authorities and more specifically the French security services responded to the political situation in Algeria by implementing a number of changes to the intelligence gathering process, changes that were marked by internal conflicts and tensions.

Dr Rabah Assaoui is Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Leicester.Dr Aissaoui’s research interests focus on immigration and racism in colonial and postcolonial France. He is particularly interested in the study of discourses on identity and exile, in the diasporic construction of nationalism and more specifically in expressions of ethnic, national and cultural belonging amongst Maghrebi migrants in France.

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