Hygiene, regeneration, and citizenship : Jews in the Tunisian protectorate / by Richard C. Parks.
My work explores the fears of degeneration and the hopes of regeneration as expressed in the Jewish community in France and transmitted to the French Protectorate of Tunisia. The history of the Jews of Tunisia during the French Protectorate (1883–1956) possesses many characteristics that make it a worthy topic for the social historian—shifts in socio-economic structures, creation of new alliances and identities, and, of course, the marginalization of those who did not fit within the new order. I examine two interrelated themes and the discourses surrounding them that shaped and molded the Tunisian Jewish community in the years prior to the Second World War. First, I examine contemporary concepts of social, moral, and physical "degeneration" and the related efforts to regenerate Tunisian Jews and, second, I explore the interconnected idea of "French modernity," which played a key role in the classification of the regenerated subject. I argue that from the end of the nineteenth century up to the eve of the Second World War, indigenous Tunisians (both Jews and Muslims,) French Jews, and colonial administrators alternately embraced and contested to varying degrees the conceptual definitions and concrete manifestations of degeneration, regeneration, and the allied notion of French modernity in the colonial setting of early-twentieth century Tunis.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:20:00
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