France's Shattered Empire: Fascism and Republicanism in Colonial Tunisia, 1931-1944


France's Shattered Empire: 

Fascism and Republicanism in Colonial Tunisia,  1931-1944

In this podcast, Luke Sebastian Scalone, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Northeastern University, discusses his research project on “France's Shattered Empire: Fascism and Republicanism in Colonial Tunisia, 1931-1944.”

In the midst of the ideological upheaval of the global 1930s, fascist movements developed in countries as wide ranging as France, Romania, Spain, and Sweden.  However, European fascist movements did not limit their activities to Europe itself. Rather, they spread across colonial empires, establishing roots far from the centers of imperial metropoles. In this project, Luke Scalone examines the Fédération Tunisienne du Parti Populaire Français (PPF), an organization led by French settlers that could veritably be called “fascist,” in colonial Tunisia. Scalone argues that there were two mobilizing factors of the PPF in Tunisia: concerns about Italian fascist claims over Tunisia, and the rapid development of Habib Bourguiba’s Neo-Destour. These same concerns would, in 1940, push the colonial administration of Tunisia to rally to the pseudo-fascist Vichy France. Due to its opposition to Italian claims, the Fédération Tunisienne du PPF offers an interesting case study into two fascist movements who were combative against one another, suggesting that nationalism was a much stronger point of identification than shared fascist values.

This interview was led by CEMAT Associate Director, Dr. Meriem Guetat, and was recorded on July 16, 2019, at the Centre d'Études Maghrébines à Tunis (CEMAT).

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Posted by Hayet Lansari, Librarian, Outreach Coordinator, Content Curator (CEMA).

Suggested Bibliography

Bessis, Juliette. 1981. La Méditerranée fasciste : L’Italie mussolinienne et la Tunisie. Paris :  Editions Karthala.

Campbell, Caroline. 2015. Political Belief in France, 1927-1945 : Gender, Empire, and Fascism in the Croix de Feu and Parti Social Français. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.

Kalman, Samuel. 2013. French Colonial Fascism: The Extreme Right in Algeria, 1919-1939. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Kraiem, Mustapha. 1987. Le fascisme et les Italiens de Tunisie. Tunis : Université de Tunis, Centre d'études et de recherches économiques et sociales.

Lewis, Mary Dewhurst. 2014. Divided Rule: Sovereignty and Empire in French Tunisia, 1881-1938. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Melfa, Daniela. 2008. Migrando a sud: Coloni italiani in Tunisia (1881-1939). Rome: Aracne, 2008.

Montalbano, Gabriele. 2018. “The Italian Community of Tunisia: From Libyan Colonial Ambitions to the First World War”. In Shiferaw, Bekele Uoldelul, Chelati Dirar, Alessandro Volterra, and Massimo Zaccaria (ed.). The First World War from Tripoli to Addis Ababa (1911-1924)Addis Ababa: Centre français des études éthiopiennes.

Pendola, Marinette. 2007. Gli italiani di Tunisia : Storia di una comunità (XIX-XX secolo). Foligno: Editoriale Umbra.

Pergher, Roberta. 2017. Mussolini’s Nation-Empire: Sovereignty and Settlement in Italy’s Borderlands, 1922-1943. New York : Cambridge University Press.