France & Algeria: Origins and Legacies | Jennifer Sessions

E409 | In 1827, Hussein Dey, the Ottoman governor of Algiers, hit a French consul on the nose with a fly whisk during a dispute over unpaid French debts. And as the story goes, the rest is history. France soon invaded Algeria and stayed for over 130 years. But as our guest in this episode Jennifer Sessions explains, France's decision to invade and colonize Algeria beginning in 1830 was far less arbitrary and far more intertwined with domestic French politics than lore would have it. And while the invasion was partially about political divisions in France, even as French politics transformed French colonization in Algeria became a national consensus over the course of the 19th century. In this episode, we examine the importance of the early decades of French colonialism in Algeria for understanding what followed, and we consider the legacy of French colonialism in Algeria for France and Algeria today. More at Jennifer Sessions is Associate Professor in the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on the history of French settler colonialism in Algeria, and she is currently writing a book about the Margueritte Insurrection of 1901. Chris Gratien is Assistant Professor of History at University of Virginia, where he teaches classes on global environmental history and the Middle East. He is currently preparing a monograph about the environmental history of the Cilicia region of the former Ottoman Empire from the 1850s until the 1950s. CREDITS Episode No. 409 Release Date: 7 April 2019 Recording Location: University of Virginia Audio editing by Chris Gratien Music: Zé Trigueiros; Lili Labassi - Mazal Haye Mazal Bibliography and images courtesy of Jennifer Sessions available at

Ottoman History Podcast