In order to reframe our perception of the Mediterranean, Oualdi’s essay connects two aspects of northern African history usually treated separately, namely the historiography of colonialism and the historiography of Ottoman rule. Oualdi explores how the legacies of Ottoman slavery impacted Tunisian society and French colonial administration by uncovering the social strategies of the descendants of mamluks who until the 1840s came from Europe and were converted to Islam in order to serve the Tunisian authorities. These descendants chose different paths: from administrative careers to political opposition. Thus, while some of them stressed certain features of a political culture partly shaped by slavery (obedience, personal loyalty, patronage), others passed on political concepts partly framed by mamluks after the 1840s, such as the notions of “state service,” “the country’s interests,” or the Constitution, which are still relevant today in postrevolutionary Tunisia.

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