Know Africa: Muslims, Christians & Jews in North Africa

Event Type: Adult Program
Age Group(s): Adult
Date: 3/16/2015
Start Time: 6:00 PM
End Time: 7:00 PM
 Perhaps no place has endured so much volatility as North Africa—the area that now includes Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. The Arab Spring upheaval is only the most recent crisis in a continuous storm spanning millennia. First century Roman Centurions were the first wave of conquest, consolidating their empire from across the Mediterranean. When Roman Empire fragmented, Christian and Jewish communities lived interspersed with nomadic animistic tribes. In the 700s, Arab-Muslim armies conquered North Africa, and unified it under the new religion of Islam, naming it the Maghreb. As Europe awoke from the dark ages and consolidated their imperial power, they looked again to northern Africa. The government of France came to conquer Algiers in 1830. In modern France, Northern Africa was considered an integral part of the country, but the tumultuous region could never be homogenized.

The cultural fragments of every conquest and liberation remained, and the tricolore could not mask the legal inequalities that made the Muslim majority into a decrepit, lower class. Join us as Dr. Jessica Hammerman argues that the explosive war for decolonization of the mid-20th century was an expression of the inextinguishable cultural plurality of the region, and not, as a presentist view of the region would suggest, the homogenous overture of the theocratic tyrannies that have dominated the region since the 1960s. Although these governments did arise during this period and diverted the initial impetus to their own purpose, the revolution did not belong to them. This talk delves into the history of Algérie Française, French Algeria, during an era in which Muslims, Christians, and Jews coexisted in a hierarchy dictated by the French government. We will journey back to the late 1950s in order to look at the debates over the future of Algeria that took place in the throes of a violent struggle for independence.

Library: Downtown Bend Public Library
Location: Brooks Room
Contact: Tina Walker Davis
Contact Number: 541-312-1034
Presenter: Jessica Hammerman