Regroupment Camps and Resettlement in Rural Algeria during the War of Independence | Dorothée Kellou

Resettlement and transfer of populations deemed problematic has long been a strategy employed by states throughout the world from tribal settlement campaigns in the Ottoman Empire and Indian Reservations in the United States to penal colonies in Australia and Siberia. During the twentieth century, "the camp," which represents various types of improvised mass resettlement and centralization of populations, emerged in many forms including refugee camps and the infamous concentration camps of the Second World War. In this episode of the Ottoman History Podcast, Dorothee Kellou discusses regroupement, which was a tactic used by the French military during the Algeria War of Independence (1954-1962) in order to control mountain and rural populations and separate them from FLN combatants. As many as two million Algerians were removed from their villages and settled into camps called regroupment centers, many of which became the sites of permanent settlements.

Dorothée Kellou is a graduate from Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies studying the history and memory of French colonialism in North Africa
Chris Gratien is a PhD candidate studying the history of the modern Middle East at Georgetown University (see

Select Bibliography:

Bourdieu, Pierre ; Abdelmalek, Sayad, 1964. Le Déracinement. La Crise de l'Agriculture Traditionnelle en Algérie. Paris, Edition de Minuit.

Cornaton, Michel, 1998. Les regroupements de la décolonisation en Algérie. L'Harmattan, Paris

Rocard, Michel; Duclert, Vincent, 2003. Rapport sur les camps de regroupement et autres textes sur la guerre d'Algérie, Mille et une nuits, Paris.

Keith Sutton, 1999. "Army Administration Tensions over Algeria's Centres de Regroupement, 1954-1962", British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Nov., 1999): 243-270

Keith Sutton; Richard I. Lawless, "Population Regrouping in Algeria: Traumatic Change and the Rural Settlement Pattern", Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, New Series, Vol. 3, No. 3, Settlement and Conflict in the Mediterranean World (1978): 331-350


Peezy said…
This is wonderful! There was a mistake, though. Ms. Kellou says that the French had worked to educate Muslim children as part of their "civilizing mission." Universal education was not compulsory in Algeria prior to the war. In 1954, only one out of every five Algerian Muslim men and only one out of sixteen Algerian Muslim women could read and write (Alistair Horne among others cites this figure).

Quick questions- did you come across any evidence of gendered or sexual violence in the camps? Have you read Caroline Elkins' book on the British detention system in Kenya during Mau Mau? A comparison between the two circumstances could prove fruitful.

Very interesting project and look forward to the film!

Liz Perego, PhD student in History, Ohio State
Unknown said…
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