Between the Medina and the Metropole: Race & Urban Planning from Algiers to Paris (1930-75)
This dissertation analyses the endurance of colonial logics of assimilation and cultural segregation in contemporary urban France by connecting them with their origins in colonial Algeria. French urban planning and policy in Algeria emphasized the capacity of the urban environment to establish the cultural supremacy of imperial France, to ‘evolve’ Algerians toward French lifestyles and civility, and to provide stable and controllable social environments. The migration en masse of Algerians to France following the Second World War, and in the context of the Algerian war of independence, prompted the creation of new state institutions in France to house, integrate, monitor and police France’s purportedly suspect, hostile immigrant population. This paper argues the refraction of this colonial apparatus during the post-war period has rippled into the contemporary era, posing significant obstacles to social cohesion between immigrants – and their descendents – and the white ethnic majority in France.