Algerians without BordersThe Making of a Global Frontier Society

Algerians without BordersThe Making of a Global Frontier Society

Allan Christelow

Print publication date: 2012

ISBN: 9780813037554

Publisher: University Press of Florida


This book presents a new framework for understanding the history of Algeria and its global connections from the late eighteenth century to the present day. It focuses on the movement of people within, but especially from and back to Algeria. These include immigrants crossing borders for purposes of work, education, or diplomatic or military service, and refugees fleeing political or religious oppression. This framework helps to bring out long term continuities in Algerian history and create an understanding of these continuities in a geopolitical context. The book examines both the political and economic factors that have affected Algerian border crossing, and the legal and institutional elements that have shaped it including international refugee law, trans-national Islamic movements, and great power conflicts. Algerians are understood as forming a global frontier society coming from an area where the Western and Islamic worlds have long experienced intensive interaction, sometimes resulting in a “clash of civilizations,” but at other times fostering interfaith dialogue and cultural syncretism. The book examines ways in which Algerians have interacted with “others”, notably through intermarriage, political alliance, and shared participation in music or theatre. The Algerian experience is viewed in a long term historical context in which there are cycles of opening when civil society is insulated from government authority, and of closing, with efforts to impose government control through means including arbitrary detention and torture.