University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group > STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU: THE POSITION OF MUSLIM TEACHERS IN THE ALGERIAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE (1954-1962)

STUCK IN THE MIDDLE WITH YOU: THE POSITION OF MUSLIM TEACHERS IN THE ALGERIAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE (1954-1962)

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In an influential text on insurgent warfare, Manuel Marighella (1969) argues that guerrilla groups should seek to provoke the established authorities into employing increasingly repressive tactics so as to polarise the population, effectively prohibiting non-combatants from occupying a position of neutral bystander and forcing them to side with one of the conflict’s belligerents. This is widely seen as having been one of the principal strategies of the National Liberation Front (FLN) against the French colonial government during the Algerian War of Independence.

Within this situation, Muslim Algerian teachers were caught in a no-man’s land between the French State, which employed them, and the nascent Algerian nation, whose children they cared for in the classroom. Based on interviews with former teachers and on-site archival research conducted in 2011-12, this presentation investigates the difficult, and often dangerous, position Muslim teachers found themselves in as a result of the war. It exposes the routine military incursions into schools by both the French army and the FLN , and examines how teachers sought to balance their duties of service to education with their political resistance to colonialism.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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