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Arab FranceIslam and the Making of Modern Europe, 1798-1831$
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Ian Coller

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520260641

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520260641.001.0001

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(p.xii) (p.1) Introduction
Arab France

Ian Coller

University of California Press

This chapter is about a France that never quite existed. It addresses the making and unmaking of a space that had no name and appears nowhere in the official record. In this sense “Arab France” is neither hypothetical nor actual: it is an intentional act of seeing, a historical choice, a space of possibility. In the summer of 1881, an “Egyptian” named Jirjis Ai'da wrote to the Ministry of War complaining of an unpleasant incident that had occurred in the course of a stroll through Paris. It is in the interstices of this document—and those others that chase it in a trail leading through the police, the Interior Ministry, and the pensions bureau, through the Tuileries gardens and across the suburbs of Paris, in lines stretching to Marseille and across the Mediterranean—that the “Arab France” of this chapter situates itself.

Keywords:   France, Arab France, Jirjis Ai'da, Ministry of War, Paris, Interior Ministry, Tuileries

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