The Invention of the Maghreb: Between Africa and the Middle East by Abdelmajid Hannoum
Under French colonial rule, the region of the Maghreb emerged as distinct from two other geographical entities that, too, are colonial inventions: the Middle East and Africa. In this book, Abdelmajid Hannoum demonstrates how the invention of the Maghreb started long before the conquest of Algiers and lasted until the time of independence, and beyond, to our present. Through an interdisciplinary study of French colonial modernity, Hannoum examines how colonialism made extensive use of translations of Greek, Roman, and Arabic texts and harnessed high technologies of power to reconfigure the region and invent it. In the process, he analyzes a variety of forms of colonial knowledge including historiography, anthropology, cartography, literary work, archaeology, linguistics, and racial theories. He shows how local engagement with colonial politics and its modes of knowledge were instrumental in the modern making of the region, including in its postcolonial era, as a single unit divorced from Africa and from the Middle East.