In Morocco, after 1912, the colonial regime eschewed, for the most part, introducing overt changes into Islamic personal status law. Indeed the patriarchy of the reigning dynasty, the ’Alawis, and of the leaders of the great tribes, was reinforced, since France wanted Morocco to theoretically remain “traditional,” untouched by modernity. Nevertheless France’s divide-and-conquer strategy... Read More »
By the eve of the revolution, Algerian demands for even limited political and civil rights had been repeatedly rebuffed by the French colonial regime and the nearly one million European settlers in the country. The only possible solution was armed conflict, which broke out on All Saints Day, November 1954. Thus began one of Africa’s cruelest anticolonial wars—an immense human tragedy that... Read More »
Tewhida Ben Sheikh [1909- ] was the first North African Muslim woman to earn a medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine in Paris, in 1936, while Tunisia was still under colonial rule. After she was awarded her medical diploma in France, Madame Ben Sheikh returned to Tunis, where she opened a women’s reproductive health clinic, often providing free medical services for poor women. She was... Read More »
In North Africa, Muslim and Jewish women’s quotidian religiosity was expressed in popular observances and festivals preserved chiefly, but not exclusively, in oral traditions. The most visible embodiment of these beliefs and practices were saints’ shrine where women (and men) honored especially pious individuals, who could be either male or female, living or dead. Lalla Zaynab (1850?-1904) was... Read More »
The harem (or harim) has exercised a powerful fascination over the Western imagination for centuries. Rarely (if ever) visited by European men, the secluded female quarters in urban elite households were, however, imagined and depicted by Western male writers and painters as places of deviance and oppression in terms of male-female relations, sexualities, and even governmental institutions.... Read More »
To the east of Algiers is a rugged mountainous region, the Kabylia, whose loftiest peak is named after a holy woman, Lalla Khadija. The Berber-speaking inhabitants have always been known for their spirit of independence as well as for the veneration they accord to local Muslim saints, male and female. Fatima N’Soumer, a Berber holy woman, was born in 1830, the year of the French invasion of... Read More »
In this passage, Bonaparte’s secretary describes the importance and effect of Bonaparte’s propaganda in the form of the military bulletin from an army in the field. Glory and military virtue were emphasized; generals vied to be included.
The book-length narrative, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), chronicles the experiences of Harriet Jacobs who was born a slave in Edenton, North Carolina, in 1813. Harriet was unaware of her slave status until at age six, her mother died and she was sent to live in the house of her mistress. Margaret Horniblow taught Harriet how to read and write in the years before she... Read More »