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Richard C. Keller, “The Universal, the Particular, and Vernacular Resistance in Colonial Algeria”: This chapter puts the debate over universalism and particularism in historical context by reexploring the implications of colonial psychiatry for the question of citizenship in contemporary France. The narrative is framed in a longer history of psychiatry’s struggles with universalism, racial or ethnic difference, and the contest over citizenship in the mid-twentieth century. Despite a scientific need to advance the idea of a universal subjectivity—a need dating back to the origins of the profession—French colonial psychiatrists in Algeria insisted on an ineradicable psychological difference between European settlers and the colonized. Yet a particular form of vernacular resistance emerged among a small number of ethnographically sensitive practitioners, who recognized the essential humanity of their patients while respecting the ways in which language, culture, and the politics of colonial rule marked a particular experience that challenged typical French approaches to psychiatric practice.

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