Colonial Capitalism and Imperial Myth in French North Africa
Muriam Haleh Davis
Muriam Haleh Davis is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History at UCSC. Her current book project investigates how colonial ideas of Islam underpinned the construction of economic planning initiatives in Algeria - from the liberal capitalist system envisioned by French planners, to the socialist policies introduced by the independent Algerian state. She has articles in The Journal of Modern History and The Journal of European Integration and she recently co-edited an edited volume entitled North Africa and the Making of Europe: Governance, Institutions and Culture that was published by Bloomsbury in 2018.
Over the past few decades, three themes—the state, oil, and war—have shaped both Iraqi politics and Iraqi studies. These themes emerge from Iraq’s modern history and its representation in academia. Academic work on Iraq witnessed a number of shifts that can be traced to two interrelated factors: access to primary source material, and the political context of the time. In this chapter, I argue that state, oil, and war are interrelated themes rather than definitively bounded categories that determine certain political economy effects. They are markers in historical processes that, since the late nineteenth century, involved the formation of social relations often organized by conceptual categories such as class, sect, nation, and gender. These social relations have constantly informed and constituted one another within particular material and historical contexts.
Keywords: French empire, Maghreb, civilizing mission, development, Algeria