Jennifer Sessions is Associate Professor of History at the University of Iowa, historian of modern France and its empire. Her first book, By sword and plow was awarded the 2011 Boucher Book Prize from the French Colonial Historical Society. She has previously been a Kluge Fellow at the Library of Congress and is currently working on two studies of French Algeria that combine cultural with social and political history.
Modern France; European Empires; Cultural History; Relationship between colonialism and French politics, culture and society.
By Sword and Plow: France and the Conquest of Algeria, Cornell University Press, 2011.
Le paradoxe des émigrants indésirables pendant la monarchie de Juillet, ou les origines de l’émigration assistée vers l’Algérie. Revue du XIXe siècle, 2010.
‘Unfortunate Necessities’: Violence and Civilization in the Conquest of Algeria, in France and Its Spaces of War: Experience, Memory,Image, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009.
Ambiguous Glory: The Algerian Conquest and the Politics of Colonial Commemoration in Post-Revolutionary France, Outre-Mers, Revue d’Histoire 94, 2006.
The Margueritte Affair is a “global microhistory” of a short-lived 1901 revolt against French rule in central Algeria and the public debate about the character of French settler colonialism in Algeria that was sparked by the trial of the accused rebels in Montpellier in 1902-03. Drawing on the voluminous judicial files from the case, administrative archives, and newspaper and literary accounts, the book situates the uprising and trial within the contexts of French settlement in Algeria, Algerian traditions of popular Islam, the symbolic economy of colonial prestige, the Dreyfus Affair and the settler anti-Jewish movement of the 1890s, and global debates about the relationship between settler colonies and their metropoles at the dawn of the twentieth century. By focusing closely on Margueritte and taking advantage of the archive generated by the events of 1901, the book aims to offer a new portrait of everyday life and the unexpectedly complex social relations in rural colonial Algeria the relationships between social, religious, and political violence in French North Africa, and the specificities of colonial violence in settler contexts.