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Centre for European Research

The Seventh Member State: a book-talk with Dr Megan Brown

When: Tuesday, October 18, 2022, 5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Where: University of London Institute in Paris and the Centre for European Research - Queen Mary University of London, 9-11, rue de Constantine, 75007

This event is organised in collaboration with the University of London in Paris


Dr. Megan Brown and ULIP colleagues had a discussion of her recently published book on how Algeria’s years as a ‘part of’ Europe came about and why that status lasted after independence. This neglected history offers radically new insight into the idea that the Europe of Brussels today was not the only possible outcome for post-war European unification projects.

The lore of European integration typically starts with the binding of France and Germany’s war industries and ends with Britain’s unprecedented exit. But European leaders first believed that post-war peace and prosperity would be secured not just on the continent, but also through cooperation across much of Africa and beyond. Indeed, French officials viewed European integration as a weapon in their fight against decolonisation, particularly in Algeria.

As six European states gathered to negotiate the European Economic Community (EEC) in the mid-1950s, French officials argued that Algeria’s legal status as French départements meant that it must benefit from the same aid and trade regulations that applied in continental Europe. These officials pitched these claims as a beneficial European ‘sharing’ of Algeria’s markets, while believing that such policies would silence anti-imperial nationalists. France’s partners, eager to see the EEC come to fruition, agreed, and Algeria entered a European rights regime that seemingly invited the free movement of labour and guaranteed security for the families of migrant workers.

Even after Algeria’s independence in 1962, its relationship to integrated Europe remained unclear because the EEC treaty named it as falling within its geographical range. This murky connection lingered until 1976: fourteen years after its independence. Decades before Brexit, Algeria’s departure from the EEC caused consternation and led to a redrawing of integrated Europe’s borders. As this talk will highlight, European integration was never spatially limited, suggesting that contemporary arguments for geographic boundaries excluding states or peoples from the European Union must be problematized and re-evaluated.

Speaker - Dr. Megan Brown

Megan Brown is an Assistant Professor of History at Swarthmore College, and a historian of modern Europe with a focus on 20th-century France, European integration, and empire. Her book, The Seventh Member State: Algeria, France, and the European Community, was published by Harvard University Press in 2022. She received her PhD in History from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and her MA from the University of London Institute in Paris (ULIP). Her writing has been published in Modern & Contemporary France; French Politics, Culture & Society; and Foreign Policy. She is currently working on two projects, one about imperial automobile tourism, and the other about the Ballets roses scandal.

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