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Abstract

This thesis focuses on Anaïs Dutertre, Dorothée Chellier, and Hubertine Auclert’s primary accounts in order to examine how each woman conceptualized France’s civilizing mission in Algeria during the nineteenth century. Despite their different professions, personal objectives, and connections to the French colonial administration, all three women argue for the policy of assimilation, which they considered would be the most beneficial objective for French colonialism in Algeria. I argue that for Dutertre, Chellier, and Auclert assimilation was a gendered process; one that began with constructing important roles for Frenchwomen in the civilizing mission and continued with focusing on Algerian women as the initial and most important targets of assimilation efforts. Therefore, this argument produces an intervention in colonial and gender history that connects the French colonial policy of assimilation to the study of gender. This thesis complicates traditional narratives of colonialism that do not address Frenchwomen’s perspectives and further contributes to the study of women’s involvement in empire.

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