CANCELLED - Joshua Cole - "Lethal Provocation" - Leora Auslander

Thursday, April 16, 2020 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Joshua Cole

**This event has been cancelled. We hope to reschedule in the coming months.**

"Majestic. Cole's powerful narrative of the tragic events of 1934 compels historians of empire to rethink categories, approaches, and methodologies. His deep research into, and reflection on, 'French' North Africa sets a new standard for Colonial Studies."–Julia Clancy-Smith, University of Arizona, author of Mediterraneans

Joshua Cole discusses Lethal Provocation: The Constantine Murders and the Politics of French Algeria. He will be joined in conversation by Leora Auslander. A Q&A and signing will follow the discussion.

Presented in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Workshop on Modern France and the Francophone World, the Transnational Approaches to Modern Europe Workshop, the Middle East History and Theory Workshop, and the Joyce Z. and Jacob Greenberg Center for Jewish Studies

At the Co-op

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested but not required.)

About the book: Part murder mystery, part social history of political violence, Lethal Provocation is a forensic examination of the deadliest peacetime episode of anti-Jewish violence in modern French history. Joshua Cole reconstructs the 1934 riots in Constantine, Algeria, in which tensions between Muslims and Jews were aggravated by right-wing extremists, resulting in the deaths of twenty-eight people.

Animating the unrest was Mohamed El Maadi, a soldier in the French army. Later a member of a notorious French nationalist group that threatened insurrection in the late 1930s, El Maadi be- came an enthusiastic supporter of France’s Vichy regime in World War II, and finished his career in the German SS. Cole cracks the “cold case” of El Maadi’s participation in the events, revealing both his presence at the scene and his motives in provoking violence at a moment when the French government was debating the rights of Muslims in Algeria. Local police and authorities came to know about the role of provocation in the unrest and killings and pur- posely hid the truth during the investigation that followed. Cole’s sensitive history brings into high relief the cruelty of social relations in the decades before the war for Algerian independence.

About the author: Joshua Cole is Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He teaches nineteenth and twentieth century European history and has published work on gender and the history of the population sciences, colonial violence, and the politics of memory in France, Algeria, and Germany. His book The Power of Large Numbers was selected as an Outstanding Academic Title for 2000 by Choice Magazine. He is also co-author, with Carol Symes, of Western Civilizations.

About the interlocutor: Leora Auslander is the Arthur and Joann Rasmussen Professor in Western Civilization in the College and Professor of European Social History at the University of Chicago. She focuses her research on 19th and 20th century European social and cultural history with a focus on France and Germany; material culture, everyday life and the built environment. Her primary national focus is modern France but also looked at research problems that are best treated transnationally. Her most recent book, Cultural Revolutions, moves across the Atlantic world from Britain, to colonial and early national America, and finally eastwards again to France. Auslander’s ongoing pair of projects, Diasporic Homes: Jews in Paris and Berlin, 1870-2000 and Commemorating Death, Obscuring Life? stay on the European continent but involve a comparative analysis of Paris and Berlin in the twentieth century. Auslander currently also serves as the Faculty Director of the Center in Paris for the 2018-2019 academic year.


Event Location: 
The Seminary Co-op Bookstore
5751 S Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637