Conflict in the Classroom: Religion and Republicanism in Algeria and Alsace, 1918–1940

Bronwen Magrath


Between World War One and World War Two, successive French governments sought to strengthen the Republic by fostering a sense of patriotism among youths in colony and metropole. Classrooms became battlegrounds where linguistic and religious identities were constructed, resisted and reformed. Comparative case studies of Alsace and Algeria reveal the continuities and contrasts of French policy within France and across the empire. Education policy as created by the Republican government was not uniform throughout the interwar period, but was constantly reformed to meet needs on the ground. By focussing on the way cultural identities were created and recreated, this article seeks to demonstrate how individuals and groups on all sides of the colonizing relationship interacted in education.


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ISSN (Print): 1705-2947
ISSN (Online): 1712-5634