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Products for grant FT-60454-13

FT-60454-13
Walking in the Footsteps of the Romans: French Colonial Archaeology in Algeria, 1830-1900
Bonnie Effros, University of Florida

Grant details: https://securegrants.neh.gov/publicquery/main.aspx?f=1&gn=FT-60454-13

“Museum-Building in Nineteenth-Century Algeria: Colonial Narratives in French Collections of Classical Antiquities,” (Article)
Title: “Museum-Building in Nineteenth-Century Algeria: Colonial Narratives in French Collections of Classical Antiquities,”
Author: Bonnie Effros
Abstract: This essay examines the fate of Roman antiquities in the course of the French conquest and colonization of Algeria, a military undertaking that began in July 1830 and resulted in the destruction of significant numbers of ancient remains over the following decades. Although French officials recognized the ideological significance of Roman remains for the French military and colonial venture, military officers who created the earliest museums to house this ancient material faced significant challenges from both the army and European civilian settlers. Roman monuments, while not anticipated as an integral component of the French campaign in North Africa, supplied not only raw materials but the ideological building blocks of an historiographic project that legitimized French presence in the region.
Year: 2016
Primary URL: http://jhc.oxfordjournals.org/content/28/2/243.full.pdf+html
Primary URL Description: Journal of the History of Collections 28.2: 243-259.
Access Model: Subscription only
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Journal of the History of Collections
Publisher: Oxford University Press

“Berber Genealogy and the Politics of Prehistoric Archaeology and Craniology in French Algeria (1860s to 1880s),” (Article)
Title: “Berber Genealogy and the Politics of Prehistoric Archaeology and Craniology in French Algeria (1860s to 1880s),”
Author: Bonnie Effros
Abstract: Following the conquest of Algiers and its surrounding territory by the French army in 1830, officers noted an abundance of standing stones in this region of North Africa. Although they attracted considerably less attention among their cohort than more familiar Roman monuments like triumphal arches and bridges, these prehistoric remains were similar to formations found in Brittany and other parts of France. However, the first effort to document these remains occurred in 1863, when Laurent-Charles Féraud, a French army interpreter, recorded thousands of dolmens and stone formations southwest of Constantine. Alleging that these constructions were Gallic, Féraud hypothesized the close affinity of the French, who claimed descent from the ancient Gauls, with the early inhabitants of North Africa. After Féraud’s claims met with skepticism among many prehistorians, French scholars argued that these remains were constructed by the ancestors of the Berbers (Kabyles in contemporary parlance), whom they hypothesized had been dominated by a blond race of European origin. Using craniometric statistics of human remains found in the vicinity of the standing stones to propose a genealogy of the Kabyles, French administrators in Algeria thereafter suggested that their mixed origins allowed them to adapt more easily than the Arab population to French colonial governance. This case study at the intersection of prehistoric archaeology, ancient history, and craniology exposes how genealogical (and racial) classification made signal contributions to French colonial ideology and policy between the 1860s and 1880s.
Year: 2017
Primary URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-for-the-history-of-science/article/berber-genealogy-and-the-politics-of-prehistoric-archaeology-and-craniology-in-french-algeria-1860s1880s/9849242C6132CB92AC26B6478390A51F
Access Model: subscription only
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: British Journal of the History of Science
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

“Indigenous Voices at the Margins: Nuancing the History of French Colonial Archaeology in Nineteenth-Century Algeria,” (Book Section)
Title: “Indigenous Voices at the Margins: Nuancing the History of French Colonial Archaeology in Nineteenth-Century Algeria,”
Author: Bonnie Effros
Editor: Bonnie Effros, Guolong Lai
Abstract: This paper addresses the ideological role of archaeology during the early decades of the French conquest of territory of Algeria and the appropriation of the prehistoric and Roman past by French archaeologists in the newly created European colony. By focusing on the period between 1830 and 1870, the years when colonial Algeria fell under the authority of the Minister of War, I draw attention to the inherent problems of the traditional telling of the history of classical archaeology in North Africa divorced from the context of the war since most of those involved also served as officers in the French army. In particular, I focus on the marked absence of indigenous Arab and Berber witnesses from the history of archaeology in Algeria, which is much in contrast to recent studies of Egyptian and Tunisian excavations, where locals played a much more active role in roughly the same time period. Given the nature of the violence of the French conquest, and the way in which documentation was selectively assembled in the French military archives, the lack of Algerian voices is not particularly surprising. I argue that indigenous voices presented an obstacle to the image of the Roman past created by French officers and archaeologists since Arab and Berber villages and encampments offered an alternative interpretation of an enduring legacy. This essay thus attempts to understand better the mechanisms by which these narratives about the North African past were silenced.
Year: 2018
Primary URL: https://ioa.ucla.edu/press/unmasking-ideology
Access Model: Subscription only
Publisher: Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press
Book Title: Unmasking Ideology in Imperial and Colonial Archaeology: Vocabulary, Symbols, and Legacy,
ISBN: 978-1-938770-1

Incidental Archaeologists: French Officers and the Rediscovery of Roman North Africa, 1830-1870 (Book)
Title: Incidental Archaeologists: French Officers and the Rediscovery of Roman North Africa, 1830-1870
Author: Bonnie Effros
Abstract: In Incidental Archaeologists, Bonnie Effros examines the archaeological contributions of nineteenth-century French military officers, who, raised on classical accounts of warfare and often trained as cartographers, developed an interest in the Roman remains they encountered when commissioned in the colony of Algeria. By linking the study of the Roman past to French triumphant narratives of the conquest and occupation of the Maghreb, Effros demonstrates how Roman archaeology in the forty years following the conquest of the Ottoman Regencies of Algiers and Constantine in the 1830s helped lay the groundwork for the creation of a new identity for French military and civilian settlers. Effros uses France’s violent colonial war, its efforts to document the ancient Roman past, and its brutal treatment of the region’s Arab and Berber inhabitants to underline the close entanglement of knowledge production with European imperialism. Significantly, Incidental Archaeologists shows how the French experience in Algeria contributed to the professionalization of archaeology in metropolitan France. Effros demonstrates how the archaeological expeditions undertaken by the French in Algeria and the documentation they collected of ancient Roman military accomplishments reflected French confidence that they would learn from Rome’s technological accomplishments and succeed, where the Romans had failed, in mastering the region.
Year: 2018
Primary URL: https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/book/9781501702105/incidental-archaeologists/#bookTabs=3
Access Model: Subscription only
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9781501702105
Copy sent to NEH?: No


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