French Settlers of North Africa

My first contribution to colonial studies was an article promoting the study of settler communities (“Colonialism and the Poisoning of Europe: Towards an Anthropology of Colonists,” Journal of Anthropological Research (1994)).  A conference I organized at New York University in 1999 culminated in the edited volume, Europe’s Invisible Migrants (2003; Amsterdam University Press).

Colonial Memory and Postcolonial Europe

Colonial Memory and Postcolonial Europe: Maltese Settlers in Algeria and France (Indiana University Press, 2006), explores the ways former French settlers of Algeria (pieds-noirs) of Maltese origin discuss the colonial past.  French Algeria attracted immigrants from Spain, Italy and Malta as well as France.  They became French citizens in Algeria, and they or their descendants “returned” to France at decolonization in 1962.  The Maltese, as the poorest of these immigrants and speaking a language mutually intelligible with the local North African idiom, were viewed as a curious in-between population, neither “European” nor “African.” In this book, I explore how their awkward social position helped shape Maltese collective memories of colonial life.

This book received the Douglass prize from the Society for the Anthropology of Europe in 2007.