French North Africa and the Architecture of Counterinsurgency - CAA 106th Annual Conference, Los Angeles, 21-24 Feb 18

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Call for Papers
August 14, 2017
California, United States
Subject Fields: 
Architecture and Architectural History, Art, Art History & Visual Studies, Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Military History, Urban History / Studies

106th College Art Association Annual Conference, Los Angeles
February 21 - 24, 2018

Deadline: Aug 14, 2017

French North Africa and the Architecture of Counterinsurgency
Chairs: Ralph Ghoche, Barnard College (; Samia Henni, ETH Zurich (

The French invasion of the Regency of Algiers in 1830 marked the onset of a long era of colonization of North Africa. In French Algeria, and the French protectorates of Morocco and Tunisia, French troops were met with widespread rebellions, counteroffensives, and popular uprisings. To combat these resistances, and to control and pacify the masses, the colonial regimes introduced spatial reforms that aimed to divide and conquer. In the nineteenth century these interventions took the form of military camps, new urban plans, penitentiary complexes, protective agricultural settlements, and large infrastructural projects (ports, roads, rail, water). During the Algerian Revolution (1954–62), tensions between colonists and the native population came to a head, leading to new forms of oppression and the establishment of an unprecedented number of counterinsurgency mechanisms: the demarcation of forbidden zones, the construction of fortified camps, the clearance of slums, and the building of mass housing across French Algeria in an effort to impede revolt. The session examines the buildings, territorial interventions, and infrastructures that ensured France’s effective hold over North Africa from the start of France’s colonization of Algeria in 1830 to Algerian independence in 1962. We seek papers that critically discuss and disclose the involvement of specific actors in spatial counterinsurgency endeavors in Algeria, Morocco, or Tunisia under colonial rule. The objective is to investigate the role of architecture and planning in obstructing and dominating insurrections and to scrutinize the roots of spatial counterinsurgency procedures and their impacts on the consolidation of a colonial order.



Instructions for submissions:

250-word proposal should be sent to the session chairs by 14th August 2017:
Ralph Ghoche and Samia Henni


Submissions should include:
1. Completed session participation proposal form, located at the end of the CAA CFP brochure (

a. Make sure your name appears exactly as you would like it listed in the conference program and conference website.

b. Make sure your affiliation appears as the official, recognized name of your institution (you may not list multiple affiliations).

c. Make sure to include an active CAA Member ID (all participants must be current members through February 24, 2018; inactive or lapsed members will be pulled from participation on August 28, 2017).

2. Paper/project abstract: maximum 250 words, in the form of a single paragraph. Make sure your title and abstract appear exactly as you would like them published in the conference program, Abstracts 2018, and the CAA website.

3. Email or letter explaining your interest in the session, expertise in the topic, and availability during the conference.

4. A shortened CV.


Chairs determine the speakers for their session and reply to all applicants by 28th August 2017.


Contact Email: