Part of the Fall 2018 Middle Eastern and North African Studies Colloquium Series
Kamilia Rahmouni, Ph.D. Candidate, School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies, University of Arizona
The establishment of the French Protectorate in Tunisia between 1881 and 1956 entailed the creation of a colonial policy that ensured France’s control over Tunisia. Religious divisions and education control were among the instruments put at the service of colonization in the policy of territorial control. Based on archival research and oral interviews, this talk examines the history of relations between colonialist schooling, Muslim-Jewish relations and collective memory formation in Tunisia. It relies on primary historical documents to trace the development of educational activities and religious integration (namely between Muslims and Jews) in a primary school in Thala, a town in west-central Tunisia, during the colonial period. It also draws on oral testimony and stories to examine the Jewish narrative in the Tunisian history in the same town during the same period. Following in the tradition of Boum’s (2013) work in Morocco, this talk addresses the following questions: Where did the Jew fit in the context of a colonized Tunisia? How do Muslims construct an absent Jewish identity? What are the key factors in the formation of a collective Muslim memory about absent Jews?