Ian Coller

in Arab France

Published by University of California Press

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780520260641
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520947542 | DOI:

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter is about a France that never quite existed. It addresses the making and unmaking of a space that had no name and appears nowhere in the official record. In this sense “Arab France” is neither hypothetical nor actual: it is an intentional act of seeing, a historical choice, a space of possibility. In the summer of 1881, an “Egyptian” named Jirjis Ai'da wrote to the Ministry of War complaining of an unpleasant incident that had occurred in the course of a stroll through Paris. It is in the interstices of this document—and those others that chase it in a trail leading through the police, the Interior Ministry, and the pensions bureau, through the Tuileries gardens and across the suburbs of Paris, in lines stretching to Marseille and across the Mediterranean—that the “Arab France” of this chapter situates itself.

Keywords: France; Arab France; Jirjis Ai'da; Ministry of War; Paris; Interior Ministry; Tuileries

Chapter.  9178 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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