M’hamed Oualdi

Do07Jan18:00Do20:00M’hamed OualdiA Slave Between Empires. A Transimperial History of North AfricaVeranstaltungsartBuchvorstellung


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The research focus Dynamics and Experiences of Globalisation of the Centre Marc Bloch is pleased to invite you to the presentation of A Slave Between Empires. A Transimperial History of North Africa(Columbia Univ. Press, 2020) by M’hamed Oualdi (Princeton University/Sciences Po Paris). The presentation will be commented by Ulrike Freitag (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient).

Presentation and discussion in English

In June 1887, a man known as General Husayn, a manumitted slave turned dignitary in the Ottoman province of Tunis, passed away in Florence after a life crossing empires. As a youth, Husayn was brought from Circassia to Turkey, where he was sold as a slave. In Tunis, he ascended to the rank of general before French conquest forced his exile to the northern shores of the Mediterranean. His death was followed by wrangling over his estate that spanned a surprising array of actors: Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II and his viziers; the Tunisian, French, and Italian governments; and representatives of Muslim and Jewish diasporic communities.

A Slave Between Empires investigates Husayn’s transimperial life and the posthumous battle over his fortune to recover the transnational dimensions of North African history. M’hamed Oualdi places Husayn within the international context of the struggle between Ottoman and French forces for control of the Mediterranean amid social and intellectual ferment that crossed empires. Oualdi considers this part of the world not as a colonial borderland but as a central space where overlapping imperial ambitions transformed dynamic societies. He explores how the transition between Ottoman rule and European colonial domination was felt in the daily lives of North African Muslims, Christians, and Jews and how North Africans conceived of and acted upon this shift. Drawing on a wide range of Arabic, French, Italian, and English sources, A Slave Between Empires is a groundbreaking transimperial microhistory that demands a major analytical shift in the conceptualization of North African history.

More information: http://cup.columbia.edu/book/a-slave-between-empires/9780231191869

M’hamed Oualdi is associate professor of history and Near Eastern studies at Princeton University and full professor at Sciences Po, Paris. He is the author of Esclaves et maîtres: Les mamelouks au service des beys de Tunis du XVIIe siècle aux années 1880 (Publications de la Sorbonne, 2011).

Ulrike Freitag is director of the Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (Berlin) since 2002 and professor at the Institute of Islamic Studies, Freie Universität Berlin. She recently published A History of Jeddah. The Gate to Mecca in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

Registration: renard@cmb.hu-berlin.de

Léa Renard
renard ( at ) cmb.hu-berlin.de

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