This book, based on a wide range of eighteenth-century works, concerns European attitude towards North Africa in the century preceding the French conquest of Algiers in 1830. It studies the radical transformation of perceptions of Barbary during the period, essentially by placing them in the context of the different eighteenth-century systems of classification of the world. We see that uncertainty as to how to classify this region, its inhabitants, its form of government and social evolution - which led to its absence from most contemporary anthropological discussions - was resolved in the early nineteenth-century with the appearance of what were to become colonial stereotypes.
III. Society and Government
Towards The Conquest
This interdisciplinary study will be of interest to all those who are concerned with eighteenth-century thought, and in particular anthropology. Dealing with an area that has hitherto attracted little attention, it throws new light on how enlightened Europe saw the rest of the world, and on the rise of racism.