Living French colonial theory : an examination of France's complex relationship with Islam in its African colonies as viewed through the lives of Octave Houdas and Xavier Coppolani

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Jeppie, Shamil en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Masey, Rachael en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2015-10-25T17:07:48Z
dc.date.available 2015-10-25T17:07:48Z
dc.date.issued 2010 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Masey, R. 2010. Living French colonial theory : an examination of France's complex relationship with Islam in its African colonies as viewed through the lives of Octave Houdas and Xavier Coppolani. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/14318
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (leaves 89-94). en_ZA
dc.description.abstract In current scholarship, the colonial period within Africa has long been defined as a controversial era, almost encapsulating the entirety of Occidental hubris in one distinct age of time. By and large, the European powers invaded foreign lands, claimed them as their own by right of superior cultural standing, attempted to spread their way of life, and manipulated both the occupied territories and their inhabitants for their own economic, cultural, and spiritual gain. Such incursions were morally justified by the Oriental paradigm, which broadly claimed that European cultural and intellectual superiority gave the cultural Occident the authority to control, speak for, and know the entirety of the Oriental world. As a colonial power, France brought its own unique perspective to the pursuit of colonial might in the form of the concept of the mission civilisatrice and the legacy of the French Revolution. Within the auspices of the larger Orientalist paradigm which guided the second colonial empire, France imposed its civilizing mission on the largely Muslim North and West African colonies. These occupied lands posed a special threat to French hegemony because they shared a common monotheistic religion which could not be easily dismissed on the basis of Orientalist logic and could potentially pose a very real threat to French control. Thus, French policy toward Islam was unceasingly suspicious of Islam ' evolving in its understanding of the religion and Muslim African culture but always with an eye to the practical aspects of administrating and controlling an Islamic colony. This paper utilizes the larger complexities surrounding the French relationship with Islam as the basis for an examination of the lives of two colonial figures, Octave Houdas and Xavier Coppolani. Both men were prominent Islamists with career trajectories deeply steeped within Orientalist rhetoric in the late nineteenth-century and with strong ties to Algeria. However, a detailed and comprehensive accounting of the significance of their contributions and how they each advanced the Orientalist perspective has not yet been a focus of scholarly historical inquiry. Octave Houdas functioned within the realm of scholarly study ' educating a new generation of Orientalists at institutions in both Algeria and France and translating documents relative to the Islamic histories of North and West Africa. In contrast, Xavier Coppolani worked as a self-styled Islamists for the French colonial government, exploring and writing strategic treatises on how the pre-existing Muslim culture could be best employed to French gain. During their respective lifetimes both men played a critical role in the evolving French conceptions of Islam yet have had their lives and works essentialized and undervalued by modern historical study. By employing a wide variety of their works, spanning from French archival material to government reports to textbooks, this paper will address both their individual contributions to Franco Islamic relations and the larger roles they, as the Orientalist scholar and administrator, respectively, played in the perpetuation of the Orientalist paradigm. Many documents represented primary sources which were in French and were reviewed at locations in France. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other Colonialism en_ZA
dc.subject.other Islam en_ZA
dc.subject.other Africa en_ZA
dc.title Living French colonial theory : an examination of France's complex relationship with Islam in its African colonies as viewed through the lives of Octave Houdas and Xavier Coppolani en_ZA
dc.type Thesis / Dissertation en_ZA
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Historical Studies en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Masters en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationname MA en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image


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