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  • PAUL M. LOVE (a1)


This article argues that medieval Arabic texts that were published in colonial northern Africa constitute as much a part of the history of colonialism and its legacy as that of the medieval centuries in which they were written. Using the publication history of a medieval Ibadi text and its French translations, I demonstrate how texts like it were edited, translated, and published not only for academic purposes, but also as contributions to the production of ‘useful’ colonial knowledge in Algeria. I begin with the first translation, published in 1878 alongside other ethnographic and historical studies funded by the colonial state. I then turn to the second translation, serially published between 1960–2 as its editors abandoned the country at the violent end of the colonial period. Finally, I address the Arabic editions published after independence, which recast it within a nationalist framework. Overall, I argue for the importance of addressing the colonial pasts of medieval texts in northern Africa.



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Research for this article was made possible in part thanks to the generous funding of the Social Sciences Research Council, the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, the Council for American Overseas Research Centers, and the Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan. I wish to thank Emma Park and Andrés Pletch for comments on a much earlier version of the article. Later revisions were enriched by discussions and suggestions for further reading by my colleague Derek Elliott at Al Akhawayn University. I also wish to acknowledge the tremendously helpful comments made by the two anonymous reviewers for JAH. Any shortcomings or errors in the final version are mine alone. Author’s email:



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1 Masqueray, E., Chronique d'Abou Zakaria (Algiers, 1878).

2 Ibadis are a Muslim minority community, who since the eighth century have lived in scattered settlements throughout northern Africa and the southeastern Arabian Peninsula. Neither Sunni nor Shi'i Muslims, Ibadis have long relied on their own textual corpora that distinguish them from their coreligionists. In the Middle Period (eleventh–sixteenth centuries), especially, Ibadis composed works of prosopography, theology, hadith, and law independent of other Muslim communities. For overviews of Ibadi history and doctrines, see Ennami, A., Studies in Ibāḍism (Benghazi, 1972); Cuperly, P., Introduction à l’étude de l'ibāḍisme et de sa théologie (Algiers, 1984); Wilkinson, J., Ibāḍism: Origins and Early Development in Oman (Oxford, 2010); Gaiser, A., Muslims, Scholars, Soldiers: The Origins and Elaboration of the Ibāḍī Imamate Traditions (Oxford, 2010); Hoffman, V., The Essentials of Ibāḍī Islam (Syracuse, 2012). Among works of scholarship on Maghribi Ibadis that utilized medieval sources including the Kitāb al-sīra and its translation by Masqueray, perhaps the best-known examples come from the corpus of work by the Polish historian Tadeusz Lewicki, who used them to write about many different aspects of the region's history. See, for example, Lewicki, T., ‘Mélanges berbères-ibadites’, Revue des Études Islamiques, 3 (1936), 267–85; Lewicki, T., ‘Une langue romane oubliée de l'Afrique du Nord: observations d'un arabisant’, Rocznik Orientalistyczny, 17 (1953), 415–80; Lewicki, T., Les ibadites en Tunisie au Moyen âge (Rome, 1958); Lewicki, T., ‘L’état nord-africain de Tahert et ses relations avec le Soudan occidental à la fin du VIIIe et au IXe siècle’, Cahiers d’études africaines, 2:8 (1962), 513–35; Lewicki, T., Etudes Maghrebines et Soudanaises (Warsaw, 1983). For a full bibliography, see Kościelniak, K., ‘The contribution of Prof. Tadeusz Lewicki (1906–1992) to Islamic and West African Studies’, Analecta Cracoviensia: Studia Philosophico-Theologica Edita a Professoribus Cracoviae, 44 (2012), 241–55.

3 This second translation appeared in four parts, serialized in Revue Africaine: Letourneau, R., ‘La Chronique d'Abū Zakariyyāʾ al-Wargalānī’, Revue Africaine, 462–3 (1960), 99176, 322–90; Letourneau, R., ‘La Chronique d'Abū Zakariyyāʾ al-Wargalānī (Suite)’, Revue Africaine, 465–5 (1961), 117–76; Idris, H., ‘La Chronique d'Abū Zakariyyāʾ al-Wargalānī: deuxième partie’, Revue Africaine, 468–9 (1961), 323–74; Idris, H., ‘La Chronique d'Abū Zakariyyāʾ al-Wargalānī: deuxième partie (suite)’, Revue Africaine, 470–1 (1962), 119–62.

4 An earlier printed addition of Part One of the work appeared in Algeria in 1979: Kitāb siyar al-aʼimma wa-akhbārihim, ed. al-ʿArabī, I. (Algiers, 1979). A full printed edition of both parts was then published in Tunis six years later: Kitāb al-sīra wa-akhbār al-aʾimma, ed. Ayyūb, A. (Tunis, 1985).

5 In what follows, I use the title ‘Kitāb al-sīra’ to refer to the text transmitted in the Arabic manuscript tradition from the Middle Period forward. When discussing the two printed editions of the text from the twentieth century, I distinguish them by using their published titles: Kitāb siyar al-aʾimma wa-akhbārihim (1979) and Kitāb al-sīra wa-akhbār al-aʾimma (1985).

6 Based on a database of Ibadi prosopographical manuscripts in P. M. Love Jr, ‘Writing a network, constructing a tradition: Ibāḍī prosopography in medieval northern Africa’ (unpublished PhD thesis, University of Michigan, 2016). Of the 23 copies of the Kitāb al-sīra in the database (as of January 2015), the earliest dated copy is a fragment in the Āl Faḍl library in Benisguen, Algeria, dated 5 Dhū al-qaʿda 887/29 January 1479.

7 Ibadi theologian and jurist Abū l-Qāsim al-Barrādī noted in the fourteenth century that the manuscript tradition of the Kitāb al-sīra comprised two parts: A. al-Barrādī, al-Jawāhir al-muntaqāt fī itmām mā akhalla bihi kitāb al-ṭabaqāt [Litho.] (Cairo, 1884). Nevertheless, the manuscript tradition demonstrates that these halves often circulated independently of each other and overlapped with other manuscript traditions. See, for example, various debates in: al-Wisyānī, A., Kitāb siyar al-Wisyānī, ed. Būʿaṣbāna, U., 3 vols. (Muscat, 2009); Amara, A., ‘Remarques sur le recueil ibāḍite-wahbite Siyar al-Mashāyikh: retour sur son attribution’, Andalus-Maghrib, 15 (2008), 3140 ; al-Wisyānī, A., Siyar mashāyikh al-maghrib, ed. al-ʿArabī, I. (Algiers, 1985).

8 On the Rustamids, see Bakīr, B., Al-dawla al-rustamīyya (Algiers, 1985); al-Ṣaghīr, Ibn, Akhbār al-aʼimma al-rustumiyyīn, eds. Nāṣir, M. and Baḥḥāz, I. (Beirut, 1986); Prevost, V., L'aventure ibāḍite dans le sud tunisien, VIIIe-XIIIe siècle: effervescene d'une région méconnue (Helsinki, 2008); Aillet, C., ‘Tāhart et les origines de l'imamat rustumide’, Annales Islamologiques, 45 (2011), 4778 ; Love, P., ‘Djerba and the limits of Rustamid power: considering the Ibāḍī community of Djerba under the Rustamid Imāms of Tāhert (779–909 ce)’, Al-Qantara, 33:2 (2012), 297323 .

9 Chapoutot-Remadi, M., ‘Abū Yazīd Al-Nukkārī’, Encyclopedia of Islam (3rd edn, 2013).

10 On which, see Love, Writing a Network, 47–74.

11 Ould-Braham, O., ‘Émile Masqueray au Mzab: à la recherche de livres ibâḍites’, Études et documents berbères, 9:2 (1993), 535 .

12 Ibid . 6. Masqueray himself begins his introduction by explaining the story behind its publication; Masqueray, Chronique d'Abou Zakaria, VII.

13 Ould-Braham cites correspondence in which Masqueray noted that his goal in visiting the Mzab valley was to obtain ‘ancient laws and Berber chronicles’ (Ibid. 8–9).

14 ‘Nos livres d'histoire sont notre propriété personnelle.’ Masqueray, Chronique d'Abou Zakaria, IX. Quoted in Ould-Braham, ‘Émile Masqueray au Mzab’, 10.

15 Ould-Braham, ‘Émile Masqueray au Mzab’, 14, 21.

16 Muḥammad Ṣāliḥ Nāṣir Bābāʿammī (ed.), Muʿjam aʿlām al-ibāḍiyya (Dictionnaire des hommes illustres de l'Ibadisme, les hommes du Maghreb), Volume II (Beirut, 2000), 399–406.

17 Masqueray added that a scholar (clerc) would have risked excommunication for providing him with a copy. Masqueray, Chronique d'Abou Zakaria, XIII.

18 Ould-Braham reproduces the text of another letter to Henri Duveyrier, at the time secretary of the Société de Géographie, in which he lists the works he obtained. Masqueray himself published this letter in the Bulletin de la Société de Géographie de Paris in 1878. Ould-Braham, ‘Émile Masqueray au Mzab’, 14–15.

19 Even more broadly, of course, this process is part of the ‘scientific’ and artistic invention of the ‘Orient’ and the academic study of its cultures and languages. Edward Said famously critiqued this cumulative representation of the ‘Orient’ in his Orientalism (1978).

20 Hannoum, A., ‘Colonialism and knowledge in Algeria: the archives of the Arab Bureau’, History and Anthropology, 12:4 (2001), 343–79.

21 Cohn, B., Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge: the British in India (Princeton, 2006), 45 .

22 Ibid . 5.

23 Trumbull, G. IV, An Empire of Facts Colonial Power, Cultural Knowledge, and Islam in Algeria, 1870–1914 (Cambridge, 2009), 8 . Trumbull borrowed the notion of an ‘ethnographic state’ from another work on British colonialism in India: Dirks, N., Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India (Princeton, 2011).

24 Trumbull, An Empire of Facts, 9, emphasis added.

25 Hannoum, A., ‘De l'historiographie coloniale à l'historicisme national ou Comment le Maghreb fut inventé’, Hespéris-Tamuda, 48 (2013), 61 .

26 This same interest in chronicles extended to French ambitions in western Africa after the occupation of the Western Sudan (especially the city of Timbuktu), where manuscripts of texts like the Tārīkh al-sūdān and the Tārīkh al-fattāsh were collected, edited, and published in Arabic and French translation. On these texts, see al-Sa'dī ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿAbd Allāh, Tarikh-es-Soudan par Abderrahman ben Abdallah, trans. O. Houdas (1898); Maḥmūd Kutī ibn Mutawakkil Kutī Timbuktī, Tarikh el-fettach: fi akhbâr el-bouldân oua-l-djouyoûch oua-akâbir en-nâs: ou, Chronique du chercheur, pour servir à l'histoire des villes, des armées et des principaux personnages du Tekrour, trans. O. Houdas and M. Delafosse (Paris, 1964). Both texts have more recently been studied and translated: ʻAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʻAbd Allāh Saʻdī and Hunwick, J., Timbuktu and the Songhay Empire: Al-Saʻdi's Taʼrīkh Al-Sūdān down to 1613, and Other Contemporary Documents (Leiden, 2003); Maḥmūd Kutī ibn Mutawakkil Kutī Timbuktī, Taʼrīkh Al Fattāsh = The Timbuktu Chronicles, 1493–1599: English Translation of the Original Works in Arabic by Al Hajj Mahmud Kati, trans. C. Wise and Hala Abu Taleb (Trenton, 2011).

27 Mansour, M. El, ‘Moroccan historiography since independence’, in Le Gall, M. and Perkins, K. (eds.), The Maghrib in Question: Essays in History & Historiography (Austin, 1997), 111 .

28 E. Burke III, The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam (Berkeley, 2014).

29 A similar situation proved true for the study of Ibāḍī communities in Libya under Italian colonization (1911–47). Indeed, knowledge production on Libyans began only after the Italo-Turkish war (1911–12). According to A. Baldinetti, ‘the Italian occupation of Libya had been planned without any preliminary cultural knowledge of the territories’. See her Italian colonial rule and Muslim elites in Libya: a relationship of antagonism and collaboration’, in Hatina, M. (ed.), Guardians of Faith in Modern Times: ʻulamaʼ in the Middle East (Leiden, 2009), 91 . From that point onward, however, the situation changed. Interest in Ibadi communities also extended to medieval texts resulting from colonization, such as Italian Orientalist Roberto Rubinacci's studies of Ibāḍī manuscripts seized from the Ottoman mutasarrif in the town of Yefren in 1913 and brought to Naples. See Rubinacci, R., ‘Notizia di alcuni manoscritti ibāḍiti esistenti presso l'Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli’, Annali dell Instituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli, 3 (1949), 431–8.

30 Trumbull, An Empire of Facts, 43.

31 Lorcin, P., Imperial Identities: Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Race in Colonial Algeria (Lincoln, NE, 2014), 189–90.

32 Motylinski, A., ‘Bibliographie du Mzab: les livres de la secte Abadhite’, Bulletin de Correspondance Africaine, 3 (1885), 5 . Motylinski himself later published his own edition of yet another medieval text on Ibadi history, the ninth-century history of the Ibadi Rustamid dynasty: Ibn al-Saghīr, Chronique d'Ibn Saghir sur les imams rostemides de Tahert, trans. A. Motylinski (Paris, 1907).

33 Hannoum, A., ‘The historiographic state: how Algeria once became French’, History and Anthropology, 19:2 (2008), 91114 .

34 Masqueray, Chronique d'Abou Zakaria, 151, fn. 1.

35 Ibn Khaldūn, A., Histoire des Berbères et des dynasties musulmanes de l'Afrique Septentrionale, trans. de Slane, W. (Algiers, 1852); Hannoum, A., ‘Translation and the colonial imaginary: Ibn Khaldûn Orientalist’, History and Theory, 42:1 (2003), 6181 . Hannoum expanded on the theme of colonial-era historiography in his Violent Modernity: France in Algeria (Cambridge, MA, 2010). His earlier monograph on the legend of the Kahina demonstrates explicitly how premodern history was used by French historians to rewrite the early history of Islam in support of colonial ideology. See his ‘Colonial histories’, in Hannoum, A., Colonial Histories, Post-Colonial Memories: The Legend of the Kahina, a North African Heroine (Portsmouth, 2001), 2970 .

36 Trumbull, An Empire of Facts, 12.

37 Many of the manuscripts used by Z. Smogorzewski were, in fact, part of the collection of A. Motylinski that had been sold to the Parisian book dealer Paul Geuthner at the beginning of the twentieth century. On Smogorzewski and Lewicki, see K. Kościelniak, ‘The contribution of Prof. Tadeusz Lewicki’, 241–55.

38 A recent article on the ‘Agadez Chronicles’ in what is today Niger has similarly argued that manuscript copies of those text provided to Europeans by local actors ‘had been altered to promote the interests of local elites who circulated these sources’. See Rossi, B., ‘The Agadez Chronicles and Y Tarichi: a reinterpretation’, History in Africa, 43 (2016), 95140 . Many thanks to the anonymous reviewer who brought this reference to my attention.

39 On Lewicki's work, see fn. 2. Motylinski references Masqueray's work in both his Bibliographie and his 1907 translation Chronique d'Ibn Saghir sur les imams rostemides de Tahert. Another classic work from the twentieth century on Ibadism that references Masqueray is Cuperly, P., Introduction à l’étude de l'ibāḍisme et de sa théologie (Alger: Office des publications universitaires, 1984). See also G. Marçais, La Berbérie musulmane et l'Orient au moyen âge, Les grandes crises de l'histoire (Paris, 1946); Julien, C. A., Histoire de l'Afrique du Nord: Tunisie, Algérie, Maroc (Paris, 1931); Abun-Nasr, J. M., A History of the Maghrib (Cambridge, 1971).

40 Cuoq, J. M., Recueil des sources arabes concernant l'Afrique occidentale du VIIIe au XVIe siècle (Bilad Al-Sudan) (Paris: CNRS, 1985). Similar Ibadi texts are extracted in the English equivalent to Cuoq's corpus: Hopkins, J. F. P. and Levtzion, N., Corpus of Early Arabic Sources for West African History (Cambridge, 1981), 8891 . Those extracts are translated from the French translations made by T. Lewicki, who also references Masqueray but elects to provide his own translations accompanied by the Arabic. For the section on the Kitāb al-sīra, see Lewicki, T., ‘Quelques extrait inédits relatifs aux voyages des commerçants et des missionnaires ibadites nord-africains au pays du Soudan occidental et central au moyen âge’, Folia Orientalia, II (1960), 27 .

41 Lewicki, T., Les historiens, biographes et traditionnistes ibādites-wahbites de l'Afrique du Nord du Vllle au XVle siècle (Krakow, 1962), 3 .

42 Golvin, L., ‘Roger Le Tourneau, l'homme, le savant: travaux de Roger Le Tourneau’, Revue de l'Occident musulman et de la Méditerranée, 10 (1971), 918 ; Sourdel, D., ‘Hady-Roger Idris (1912–1978)’, Revue des études Islamiques, 2:46 (1978), 155–61.

43 Letourneau, ‘La Chronique’, 99.

44 Ibid . 8.

45 On the relationship between Roger LeTourneau's scholarship as a historian and his politics, see Saul, S., ‘Roger Le Tourneau: un historien de l'Afrique du Nord face à la décolonisation’, Outre-mers, 93:350–1 (2006), 335–65.

46 Sourdel, ‘Hady-Roger’, 156. The thesis was later published as H. Idris, La Berbérie Orientale sous les Zirides, 2 vols. (Paris, 1962).

47 The ‘Fonds Le Tourneau’ is held at the Archives nationales d'outre mer (ANOM). I have used the reference to this archive's documents as it appears in other publications: Centre des archives d'outre mer (CAOM), 7/APOM/1-29.

48 CAOM 7/APOM/10, letter from Canard to LeTourneau, 17 Apr. 1958.

49 Darchaoui later used the Kitāb al-sīra to write his Le califat fatimide au Maghreb (296-365H./909-975JC.): histoire politique et institutions (Tunis, 1981). On Lewicki, see Kościelniak, ‘The contribution of Prof. Tadeusz Lewicki’.

50 CAOM 7/APOM/10, letter from Canard to LeTourneau, 17 Apr. 1958.

51 CAOM 7/APOM/12, letter from Dalet to LeTourneau, 13 Dec. 1958.

52 CAOM 7/APOM/12, letter from Pérès to LeTournea, 18 Dec. 1958.

53 CAOM 7/APOM/ 12, ‘Chronique d'Abou Zakariyyâ’, n.d.

54 CAOM 7/APOM/12, letter from University of Algiers Library to LeTourneau, 9 May 1959.

55 CAOM 7/APOM/12, letter from Pérès to LeTourneau, 18 May 1959.

56 Saul, ‘Roger Le Tourneau’, 338.

57 Ibid .

58 CAOM 7/APOM/10, letters from Idris to LeTourneau: 18 Nov. 1957; 20 Nov. 1958; 20 Jan. 1959.

59 CAOM 7/APOM/10, letter from Idris to LeTourneau, 26 Jan. 1959.

60 Both of these later works quoted extensively from the Kitāb al-sīra and have appeared in print editions: A. al-Darjīnī, Kitāb ṭabaqāt al-mashāʼikh bi-l-maghrib., ed. I. Ṭallay, 2 vols. (Constantine, 1974); al-Shammākhī, A., Kitāb al-Sīyar, ed. Ḥasan, M., 3 vols. (Beirut, 2009).

61 Letourneau, ‘La Chronique’.

62 CAOM/7 APOM/10, letter from Idris to LeTourneau, 10 May 1960.

63 Smogorzewski, Z., ‘Essai de bio-bibliographie ibadite-wahbite, avant-propos’, Rocznik Orientalistyczny, 5 (1927), 48 .

64 Motylinski also noted that his own manuscript copy was made from the exemplar used to produce Masqueray's copy, see Motylinski, ‘Bibliographie du Mzab: les livres de la secte Abadhite’, 26.

65 Idris, ‘La Chronique … deuxième partie’; ‘La Chronique … deuxième partie (suite)’.

66 CAOM 7/APOM/12, letter from Pérès to LeTourneau, 10 Dec. 1961.

67 ‘[M]ais avec ces événements d'Algérie je peur [sic] qu'il aura eu bien d'autres préoccupations!’ CAOM 7/APOM/12, letter from Van Bercham to LeTourneau, 1 Jan. 1961.

68 See A. Abdallah, ‘III. L'incendie’, in ‘Histoire de la Bibliothèque Universitaire d'Alger et de sa reconstitution après l'incendie du 7 juin 1962’, Université d'Alger Bibliothèque Universitaire, ( accessed 22 Dec. 2014. The office of the library's director today contains a glass display case with some of the charred remains of the books lost in the fire.

69 This includes a full copy of the Kitāb al-sīra and a partial copy of al-Darjīnī’s Kitāb ṭabaqāt: CAOM 7/APOM/12.

70 A. Berbrugger, ‘Introduction’, Revue Africaine, V.1 (1856), 3. This introduction also lays out a short history of the production of knowledge on Algeria from the occupation of Algiers in 1830 to the mid-nineteenth century.

71 The proceedings of the meeting appear at the beginning of the final issue of Revue Africaine, under the title of ‘Assemblée Générale du 28 Janvier 1962’ (presumably the organization's very last general assembly): Revue Africaine, 106 (1962), 5–9.

72 Ibid . 7.

73 These efforts are represented by classic works of post-independence Maghribi history like Sahli, M., Décoloniser l'histoire: introduction à l'histoire du Maghreb (Paris, 1965) and Laroui, A., L'histoire du Maghreb (Paris, 1975), translated as The History of the Maghrib: An Interpretive Essay (Princeton, 1977); Wansbrough, J., ‘The decolonization of North African history’, The Journal of African History, 9:4 (1968), 643–50. For an overview of the literature and the historiographical conversation over the decolonization of history in the Maghrib, see K. Perkins, ‘Recent historiography of the colonial period in North Africa: the “Copernican Revolution” and beyond’, in Le Gall and Perkins (eds.), The Maghrib in Question, 121–35.

74 McDougall, J., History and the Culture of Nationalism in Algeria (Cambridge, 2006).

75 al-Warjalānī, Kitāb siyar al-aʾimma, 26–7.

76 Ibid . 29.

77 Ibid . 30.

78 Ibid . 31.

79 On these two larger historiographical trends, see the essays in Le Gall and Perkins (eds.), The Maghrib in Question. See also the introductions to Dulucq, S., Écrire l'histoire de l'Afrique à l’époque coloniale, XIXe–XXe siècles (Paris, 2009) and Buresi, P. and Ghouirgate, M., Histoire du Maghreb médiéval: (XIe–XVe siècle) (Paris, 2014); Cf. J. E. Wansbrough, ‘The decolonization of north African history’, 643–50.

80 H. Touati, ‘Algerian historiography in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: from chronicle to history’, in Le Gall and Perkins (eds.), The Maghrib in Question, 93.

81 For Moroccan examples, see ‘Postindependence historiography’ and ‘Nationalist history’ in M. El Mansour, ‘Moroccan historiography’, in Le Gall and Perkins (eds.), The Maghrib in Question, 112–16. For Libya, see M. Le Gall, ‘Forging a nation-state: some issues in the historiography of modern Libya’, in Le Gall and Perkins (eds.), The Maghrib in Question, 95–108. A. Hannoum follows the famous legend of the Kahina into the post-independence period: ‘Post-colonial memories’, in Hannoum, Colonial Histories, Post-Colonial Memories, 111–60, esp. ‘The legend in post-colonial Arab historiography’, 119–31.

82 Ayyūb first described these documents in a short article in French: Ayoub, A., ‘Deux pièces d'archive retrouvées parmi les documents de feu Jean Auguste Bossoutrot’, Revue d'histoire Maghrébine, 21–2 (1981), 93–4. His full explanation came later with his publication of the Kitāb al-sīra (al-Warjalānī, Kitāb al-sīra, 7). Despite Ayyūb's note that the manuscripts were then sold to the ‘Centre de littérature et de linguistique arabes. E.R.A. 585 Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris II)’, my visit to the CNRS library housing Arabic materials yielded no trace of these manuscripts. I wish to thank Moez Dridi for his help in the search for these texts in March 2015.

83 al-Warjalānī, Kitāb al-sīra, 10–12.

84 Dar al-Kutub MS 9030 Ḥāʾ, A. al-Warjalānī, Kitāb al-sīra, 15 Jumādā al-ūlā 1302/2 Mar. 1885.

85 ‘Kaʾanna kitāb al-sīra lam yaḍaʿhu Abū Zakarīyā Yaḥyā b. Abī Bakr al-Wārjalānī illā li-ʾan yutarjam li-l-lugha al-faransiyya’ – (al-Warjalānī, Kitāb al-sīra, 11).

86 Indeed, this generation of historians included one of the editors of the second French translation of the Kitāb al-sīra, Hady-Roger Idris, who was himself from a Franco-Tunisian family. On some of the resulting differences between the post-independence historiography in Algeria and Tunisia, see Perkins, ‘Recent historiography of the colonial period in North Africa’, in Le Gall and Perkins (eds.), The Maghrib in Question, 124–6.

87 ibn Saʻīd al-Darjīnī, Aḥmad, Kitāb ṭabaqāt al-mashāʼikh bi-l-Maghrib., ed. Ṭallay, I. (Constantine, 1974), [no page number].

* Research for this article was made possible in part thanks to the generous funding of the Social Sciences Research Council, the American Institute for Maghrib Studies, the Council for American Overseas Research Centers, and the Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan. I wish to thank Emma Park and Andrés Pletch for comments on a much earlier version of the article. Later revisions were enriched by discussions and suggestions for further reading by my colleague Derek Elliott at Al Akhawayn University. I also wish to acknowledge the tremendously helpful comments made by the two anonymous reviewers for JAH. Any shortcomings or errors in the final version are mine alone. Author’s email:


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