Muriam Haleh Davis

2018 Hellman Fellow

Assistant Professor Hirstory
UC Santa Cruz

Project Title: Planning for Eurafrica: Development and Race in Algeria, 1958-1965

Davis will be using her Hellman fellowship to complete research for my first monograph, which focuses on a French plan to socially and economically develop Algeria, known as the Constantine Plan. Announced in 1958, four years into the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962), it provided the necessary investments to modernize Algeria and allow for the economic integration between Algeria and the metropole. The Constantine Plan was a self-conscious break from previous development initiatives; it conceived of planning as an intervention that was sociological rather than narrowly economic in nature. In this capacity, the primary goal of the Constantine Plan was not merely to raise the standard of living among the Algerian natives, but also to help the Muslim population adapt to market-based notions of economic productivity.

The links between the decolonization of Algeria, and the signing of the Treaty of Rome in 1957, have often been overlooked by scholars. Instead, Davis’ project proposes a new approach to economic planning that situates development in relationship to the broader shifts in political economy, spatial configuration, and racial classification that emerged in the 1950s. Through the study of development in Algeria, she shows that we cannot adequately understand the genesis of the post-colonial state in Algeria, current understandings of race and colonialism in France, or the emergence of a politically integrated concept of Europe, without taking seriously the economic and technical dimensions of colonial rule.

Articles relating to this project have appeared in the Journal of European Integration History and the Journal of Contemporary History. Moreover, I recently co-edited a volume with Bloomsbury Academic Press entitled, “North Africa and the Making of Europe: Governance, Institutions and Culture.