February 6: Julia Clancy-Smith on Barbary Coasts: North Africa, Colonialism, and the Mediterranean, c. 1820-2011

In the 19th century, tens of thousands of Europeans and others relocated to North Africa and the Ottoman Empire. How can the era of French colonialism be assessed in relation to the broader patterns of settlement, labor, colonial rule, and decolonization? What are the connections between that era and today’s movement of labor migrants from south to north across the Mediterranean? On February 6, Julia Clancy-Smith discussed with the Washington History Seminar the challenges such questions pose for the historian writing comparative colonial history as well as history from both below and above. The answers may help to explain the beginnings of the Arab Spring.

Wilson Center Fellow Julia Clancy-Smith is Professor of History at the University of Arizona, Tucson. She has written Mediterraneans: North Africa and Europe in an Age of Migration, c. 1800-1900 (2011), which won the French Colonial Historical Society Book Award and the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society Award. Her other works include Rebel and Saint: Muslim Notables, Populist Protest, Colonial Encounters (1994).

A webcast of her presentation is available at Barbary Coasts.

The Washington History Seminar gathers at 4 p.m. at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars at 13th and Pennsylvania Ave., NW, Federal Triangle Metro stop. It is co-sponsored by the National History Center and the Wilson Center, with the support of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations.