During the first half of the twentieth century, movements seeking political equality emerged in France's overseas territories. Within twenty years, they were replaced by movements for national independence in the majority of French colonies, protectorates, and mandates. In this pathbreaking study of the decolonization era, Adria Lawrence asks why elites in French colonies shifted from demands for egalitarian and democratic reforms to calls for independent statehood, and why mass mobilization for independence emerged where and when it did. Lawrence shows that nationalist discourses became dominant as a consequence of the failure of the reform agenda. Where political rights were granted, colonial subjects opted for further integration and reform. Contrary to conventional accounts, nationalism was not the only or even the primary form of anti-colonialism. Lawrence shows further that mass nationalist protest occurred only when and where French authority was disrupted. Imperial crises were the cause, not the result, of mass protest.
Adria Lawrence is Assistant Professor at Yale University and a research fellow at the Yale's Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. Her publications include Rethinking Violence: States and Non-State Actors in Conflict (coedited with Erica Chenoweth), and articles in International Security, American Politics Research, and the Journal of North African Studies. Her research interests lie in comparative politics and international relations; she studies conflict, collective action, nationalism, and the Middle East and North Africa. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
1. Introduction: the politics of nationalism in the French empire; 2. Indigenes into Frenchmen? Seeking political equality in Morocco and Algeria; 3. Political equality and nationalist opposition in the French empire; 4. Empire disrupted: nationalist opposition accelerates; 5. Nationalist mobilization in colonial Morocco; 6. Conclusion.