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Mary Dewhurst Lewis
President and Fellows of Harvard College (Cambridge, MA 02138-3800)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$33,600 (approved)
$33,600 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2012 – 8/31/2012

Divided Rule: Sovereignty and Empire in French Tunisia, 1880s-1930s

Divided Rule is about the struggle for control of Tunisia in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. After the French took control of Tunisia in 1881, legal battles replaced military contests, as Italy, Britain and other European powers drew on the protectorate's legal pluralism to maintain footholds in the protectorate. Tunisians themselves exploited these imperial rivalries to claim rights related to the administration of justice, taxation, property acquisition and transmission, as well as burial rites. Although French leaders initially had viewed the "protectorate" as a means for avoiding the violent clashes triggered by outright annexation in neighboring Algeria, over time they responded to Tunisians' growing demands by treating the protectorate much as if it had been annexed. In response to France's increasingly heavy-handed intervention, a rights-based independence movement was born. Drawing on archives from four countries, Divided Rule explains this transformation.