Parution : Muriam Haleh Davis, Markets of Civilization. Islam and Racial Capitalism in Algeria, Duke University Press, 2022


Markets of Civilization

Islam and Racial Capitalism in Algeria





BookPages: 288Illustrations: 12 illustrationsPublished: September 2022

Middle East StudiesPostcolonial and Colonial StudiesAfrican Studies

In Markets of Civilization Muriam Haleh Davis provides a history of racial capitalism, showing how Islam became a racial category that shaped economic development in colonial and postcolonial Algeria. French officials in Paris and Algiers introduced what Davis terms “a racial regime of religion” that subjected Algerian Muslims to discriminatory political and economic structures. These experts believed that introducing a market economy would modernize society and discourage anticolonial nationalism. Planners, politicians, and economists implemented reforms that both sought to transform Algerians into modern economic subjects and drew on racial assumptions despite the formally color-blind policies of the French state. Following independence, convictions about the inherent link between religious beliefs and economic behavior continued to influence development policies. Algerian president Ahmed Ben Bella embraced a specifically Algerian socialism founded on Islamic principles, while French technocrats saw Algeria as a testing ground for development projects elsewhere in the Global South. Highlighting the entanglements of race and religion, Davis demonstrates that economic orthodoxies helped fashion understandings of national identity on both sides of the Mediterranean during decolonization.
“In Markets of Civilization, Muriam Haleh Davis maps the colonizing commitment of French occupiers to transform the Algerian landscape of political economy and subjectivity from homo islamicus to homo economicus, from a ‘traditional’ religiously and racially driven subject to a ‘modern’ economic subject. Weaving a critical understanding of this transforming drive, Davis provides a fascinatingly detailed analysis of the archive in ways highlighting both the colonizing efforts to ‘Euro-modernize’ and the creative resistances with all their complications. A marvelously nuanced, insightful, and revealing read.” — David Theo Goldberg, author of Dread: Facing Futureless Futures
Markets of Civilization provides a masterly genealogy of the twin figures of homo economicus and homo islamicus within French colonial thought and post-independence Algeria. With characteristic analytical rigor and historical nuance, Muriam Haleh Davis explores technologies of human difference alongside the place of Algeria, and of Muslims more broadly, within racial capitalism. A tour-de-force analysis, the book is a must-read for all historians concerned with race, religion, and the history of economic development.” — Omnia El Shakry, author of The Arabic Freud: Psychoanalysis and Islam in Modern Egypt

Muriam Haleh Davis is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and coeditor of North Africa and the Making of Europe: Governance, Institutions, and Culture.

Table of Contents
Acronyms  ix
Transliteration Note  xi
Acknowledgments  xiii
Introduction  1
1. Settling the Colony  19
2. A New Algeria Rising  43
3. Decolonization and the Constantine Plan  69
4. Fellahs into Peasants  96
5. Communism in a White Burnous  119
6. Today’s Utopia Is Tomorrow’s Reality  144
Epilogue  167
Notes  177
Bibliography  227
Index  259

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