By Rebecca Rogers
Winner of the 2014 Mary Alice and Philip Boucher e-book Prize, subsidized through the French Colonial historic Society.
Honorable point out within the 2014 Pinkney Prize, backed via the Society for French historic Studies.
Eugénie Luce was once a French schoolteacher who fled her husband and deserted her relatives, migrating to Algeria within the early 1830s. by means of the mid-1840s she had turn into a tremendous determine in debates round academic regulations, insisting that ladies have been a serious measurement of the French attempt to influence a fusion of the races. to assist this fusion, she based the 1st French university for Muslim women in Algiers in 1845, which thrived till professionals bring to a halt her investment in 1861. At this element, she switched from educating spelling, grammar, and stitching, to embroidery—an pastime that attracted the eye of popular British feminists and gave her tuition a celebrated attractiveness for generations.
The portrait of this striking girl unearths the function of girls and ladies within the imperial tasks of the time and sheds mild on why they've got disappeared from the ancient list because then.
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Extra resources for A Frenchwoman’s Imperial Story: Madame Luce in Nineteenth-Century Algeria
32 Although no organized feminist movement existed in France at this time, there was a body of thought that challenged the idea that women’s lives should be determined by the needs and desires of men and that women’s place in society was mainly in the home. There is no way to ascertain whether Eugénie Allix encountered any of these ideas in the early 1830s or whether her discovery of Saint-Simonian thought occurred only later in Algeria. 33 In Vendôme, the Allixes would have had greater opportunity than in Bléré to mingle with men and women who supported the more liberal ideals of the Revolution of 1830, and teachers were particularly likely to welcome these ideas.
As a result, I have had to rely on stories she told friends and family about these years, stories that bear the imprint of the storyteller more than the historian. Born in 1804, Eugénie Berlau shared with her Romantic contemporaries a taste for the quixotic and a keen awareness of the role of the individual in history. She cast her own life in this mold and later in life liked to compare herself to the novelist George Sand. She described herself acting out noble ambitions as she defended Arab womankind, although it remains unclear how she moved from being a provincial schoolteacher to being a proponent of France’s civilizing mission in Algeria.
She is not representative of the forgotten majority whose lives exemplify the female condition. Nor would I describe this project as being a form of Italian microhistory, although I share with this scholarship an interest in the local and the small scale. Rather, I argue throughout this book that knowledge of Eugénie Luce’s life changes our vision of French colonization and brings to light the opportunities offered to determined women in early colonial Algeria. 12 Knowledge of their lives offers a way to see how gender affected the civilizing mission.