Nursing transgressions, exploring difference: North Africans in French medical spaces during World War i
This article explores the social impact of North African soldiers' experiences in French military hospitals during World War I. In particular, it examines improvised Muslim hospitals that were opened in order to isolate North Africans from French civilian society. Colonial and military officials believed that North Africans, presumed to be warlike, pathogenic, and promiscuous, could corrupt and be corrupted by the French public. Yet while existing literature tends to highlight the dehumanization of North Africans at the hands of military and medical authorities, this article, drawing from personal correspondence, photographs, and military and medical records, reveals a more ambiguous daily reality. I argue that the individual needs and desires of wounded North Africans and of French nurses, as well as material limitations and contingencies, created spaces for an unprecedented series of humanizing personal encounters. In military-medical colonies within the metropole, these soldiers found themselves caught between a newfound sense of affinity with the French public and a starker sense of the boundaries of colonial practice.
International Journal of Middle East Studies
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Rominger. (2018). NURSING TRANSGRESSIONS, EXPLORING DIFFERENCE: NORTH AFRICANS IN FRENCH MEDICAL SPACES DURING WORLD WAR I. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 50(4), 691–713. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020743818000880