A French university in a colonial land

Birth and reconversion of the Law School of Algiers (1879-1962)
By Laure Blévis

This article seeks to study the history of the Algiers Law School {Faculté de droit d'Alger) during French colonization from its foundation in 1879 until Algerian independence. This institution reveals the ambiguity of the French colonial project: targeted at European students, it was conceived not as a colonial institution, but as a provincial university. However, in order to impose itself in the French metropolitan academic field, its successive directors contributed to the construction of its unique expertise in colonial legal issues. The strategy was very efficient at first, but led to the marginalization of the institution. Therefore, after 1945 the new director reoriented teaching towards a more classical conception of the law school, which favored the reconversion of Algerian academics after 1962.

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