Today labor migrants mostly move south to north across the Mediterranean. Yet in the nineteenth century thousands of Europeans and others moved south to North Africa, Egypt, and the Levant. This study of a dynamic borderland, the Tunis region, offers the fullest picture to date of the Mediterranean before, and during, French colonialism. In a vibrant examination of people in motion, Julia A. Clancy-Smith tells the story of countless migrants, travelers, and adventurers who traversed the Mediterranean, changing it forever. Who were they? Why did they leave home? What awaited them in North Africa? And most importantly, how did an Arab-Muslim state and society make room for the newcomers? Combining fleeting facts, tales of success and failure, and vivid cameos, the book gives a groundbreaking view of one of the principal ways that the Mediterranean became modern.
List of Illustrations and Maps
List of Abbreviations
Note on Transliteration
1. Arrival: Tunis the “Well-Protected”
2. Detours: Migrations in a Mobile World
3. Making a Living: Domestic Service and Other Forms of Employment
4. Making a Living: Petty Commerce, Places of Sociability, and the Down-and-Out
5. Making a Living: The Sea, Contraband, and Other Illicit Activities
6. From Protection to Protectorate: Justice, Order, and Legal Pluralism
7. Muslim Princes and Trans-Mediterranean Missionaries
8. Where Elites Meet: Households, Harim Visits, and Sea Bathing
9. Khayr al-Din al-Tunisi and a Mediterranean Community of Thought
Epilogue: Fetched Up on the Maghrib’s Shores
Julia Clancy-Smith is Professor of History at the University of Arizona. She is the author of the award-winning Rebel and Saint: Muslim Notables, Populist Protest, Colonial Encounters (UC Press), among other books.
"From the anonymous Sicilian fishermen to Maltese coachmen, smugglers and burglars, from Sardinian female servants to French women missionaries and Ottoman future statesmen, Julia Clancy-Smith draws a lively, poetic, portrait of the thousands of migrants who came to Tunisia in the 19th century, changing its space, rhythms and sounds long before the advent of French colonial rule: An ethnographic journey through 19th-century Tunisia that beautifully captures the spirit of the place."—Lucette Valensi, author of The Birth of the Despot: Venice and the Sublime Porte
"In this meticulously researched, beautifully written work, Clancy-Smith has used an extraordinary array of sources from administrative and legal documents to personal letters and testimonies to bring the nineteenth-century Mediterranean world alive. Covering a wide range of situations from domestic service to contraband and exploring both the personal, legal, and administrative dimensions of each, she demonstrates the different ways in which private and public spheres intersected. The book is essential reading not only for scholars and students but also for anyone interested in gender, migration and the societies of the Mediterranean."—Patricia Lorcin, author of Imperial Identities
"In her groundbreaking study of population movements, Clancy-Smith reconceptualizes the nineteenth-century history of North Africa by inserting the 'missing' people into the social fabric. She shows the roles these Southern Europeans of modest means played in creating a borderland society whose impact continued during the colonial period. Mediterraneans opens new windows into power structures, labor history, issues of gender, and social and cultural negotiations, along the way replacing binary constructions with a much more complicated world."—Zeynep Çelik, author of Empire, Architecture, and the City: French-Ottoman Encounters, 1830-1914.
Best Subsequent Book Award, Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society
Alf Andrew Heggoy Book Prize, French Colonial History Society
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