A Frenchwoman’s Imperial Story: Madame Luce in by Rebecca Rogers

By Rebecca Rogers

Winner of the 2014 Mary Alice and Philip Boucher e-book Prize, backed via the French Colonial ancient Society.

Honorable point out within the 2014 Pinkney Prize, subsidized through the Society for French ancient Studies.

Eugénie Luce was once a French schoolteacher who fled her husband and deserted her family members, migrating to Algeria within the early 1830s. via the mid-1840s she had develop into an incredible determine in debates round academic guidelines, insisting that girls have been a severe measurement of the French attempt to influence a fusion of the races. to assist this fusion, she based the 1st French institution for Muslim women in Algiers in 1845, which thrived till specialists bring to an end her investment in 1861. At this element, she switched from instructing spelling, grammar, and stitching, to embroidery—an recreation that attracted the eye of well-known British feminists and gave her tuition a celebrated popularity for generations.

The portrait of this striking lady unearths the function of girls and women within the imperial tasks of the time and sheds mild on why they've got disappeared from the old checklist on account that then.

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Additional resources for A Frenchwoman’s Imperial Story: Madame Luce in Nineteenth-Century Algeria

Sample text

They also highlight inconsistencies and holes in the stories that she later told about herself. Eugénie came of age in the 1820s; married a fellow schoolteacher, Alexandre Allix; and gave birth to two girls, one of whom died within the year. Influenced perhaps by the revolutionary effervescence that characterized the early years of the July Monarchy (1830–1848), she made the remarkable decision to abandon her husband and daughter, fleeing alone to Algeria in 1832. Chapter 2 puts this decision into historical perspective and describes the life that awaited a woman on her own in those early years of colonial conquest.

Efforts are made to persuade her she is inferior to men and to ensure this odious supposition becomes a reality. . If she has an inquiring mind and studious habits, education compresses in her all that might bring her strength and moral dignity. It seeks to cultivate her frivolous tastes, suggests to her that the gift of charm and the art of pleasing should be her sole aim and the object of her wishes. . 30 Although not many women were among the Saint-Simonians, their contribution to public debate raised issues about women’s inferior status, particularly in marriage, that resonated in less radical venues.

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 hints, however, that a faith in education underlay most of her life decisions. Certainly she came from a family that understood the value of schooling. The departmental archives offer insights into the familial culture that gave Eugénie Berlau the intellectual tools that would stand her in such good stead during the years to come.

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