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A Frenchwoman's Imperial Story
Madame Luce in Nineteenth-Century Algeria

Rebecca Rogers


2013

288 pp.
16 illustrations, 3 maps.
ISBN: 9780804784313
Cloth $65.00
ISBN: 9780804787246
E-book $65.00

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"Rebecca Rogers has written a first-rate biography about Eugénie Allix Luce (1804-1882), a determined French schoolteacher in mid-nineteenth-century Algiers. She has also made a significant contribution to the historiography of primary education, ethnic relations, cultural patrimony, international feminism, and colonial administration, among other inherently gendered issues in the social history of French Algeria."—James Smith Allen, American Historical Review

"This book opens up an entire social universe detailing the vicissitudes of indigenous girls' schooling in French Algeria and the shifting politics of colonial education that remained largely concealed until now. Rogers' study stands out due to the originality of its approach, the freshness of its conceptualization, and the elegance and clarity of the prose."—Julia Clancy-Smith, University of Arizona

"This work is a stunning achievement. It presents a fascinating and important contribution to the history of women, empire, and historical biography."—Whitney Walton, Purdue University

Eugénie Luce was a French schoolteacher who fled her husband and abandoned her family, migrating to Algeria in the early 1830s. By the mid-1840s she had become a major figure in debates around educational policies, insisting that women were a critical dimension of the French effort to effect a fusion of the races. To aid this fusion, she founded the first French school for Muslim girls in Algiers in 1845, which thrived until authorities cut off her funding in 1861. At this point, she switched from teaching spelling, grammar, and sewing, to embroidery—an endeavor that attracted the attention of prominent British feminists and gave her school a celebrated reputation for generations.

The portrait of this remarkable woman reveals the role of women and girls in the imperial projects of the time and sheds light on why they have disappeared from the historical record since then.

Rebecca Rogers is Professor of History at the Université Paris Descartes.




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