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House, Jim

House, Jim

NIAS Individual Fellowship

Rethinking the Urban Colonial Relation: Shantytowns in Algiers and Casablanca (1910-1962)

Research Question

This project’s intersecting research questions cover: internal migration and the colonial authorities’ response to urban growth in Algiers and Casablanca; everyday life in the shantytowns; growing political opposition to colonial rule after 1945 and the role of shantytown inhabitants in the struggle for independence; the authorities’ response to such mobilizations (repression and reform); social memories of the shantytowns since independence.

Project Description

Providing a spatial reading of both colonialism and anti-colonialism, this comparative project shows how colonial urban power relations were imposed, experienced, contested and remembered in Algeria and Casablanca, French North Africa’s largest colonial cities. Shantytowns allow us to analyse the agency of the urban poor, their everyday lived experiences and their migratory, residential and political trajectories. Comparing case studies of colonial-era shantytowns, this project draws on extensive oral history interviews and archival research. Placing the histories of shantytowns within the overlapping contexts of city, colony, empire, and beyond, this inter-disciplinary project combines social, political and urban history with sociology, migration and memory studies. It will lead to a monograph entitled Shantytowns and the City: Colonial Power Relations in Algiers and Casablanca, 1910-1962 (Oxford University Press).

Selected Publications

1) Paris 1961: Algerians, State Terror, and Memory, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006, 375pp (with Neil MacMaster). Paperback edition 2009.

This book was published in French translation by Tallandier in 2008 as Paris 1961. Les Algériens, la terreur d’État et la mémoire (544pp) and by Casbah Éditions (Algiers) in 2012 (Arabic translation pending with Casbah):


2)  ‘Colonial Containment? Repression of Pro-Independence Street demonstrations in Algiers, Casablanca and Paris, 1945-1962’, article in War in History, Vol.25, No.2, 2018, pp.172-201.


3) ‘Double présence. Migrations, liens ville-campagne et lutte pour l’indépendance à Alger, Casablanca, Hanoi et Saigon’, article in Monde(s). Histoire, espaces, relations, No.12, November 2017, pp.95-119.


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