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ERC Securing Europe, Fighting its enemies, 1815-1914

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Erik de Lange awarded the 2019 Consortium on the Revolutionary Era Charlie Crouch Graduate Student Paper Prize

Erik de Lange received this prize for his paper “No Security, Except in Destruction”: Transnational Threats, International Anxieties and the French Invasion of Algiers.

The abstract of his paper:

The French invasion of Ottoman Algiers in the summer of 1830, which started over a century of colonial rule in Algeria, ought to be understood within the frameworks of the nineteenth-century international system of peace and security. Though the historiography generally stresses the domestic concerns and electoral calculations behind the French monarchy’s decision to attack Algiers, this paper will take a different approach. Rather than focusing on internal political factors, it will highlight how the invasion was, in fact, deeply embedded in the multilateral structures of the post-Napoleonic ‘Congress System’. The paper will show that the invasion of 1830 was not only inspired by geostrategic concerns over the territorial order as created at the Congress of Vienna, but also corresponded to the more abstract aspects of that international order, i.e. its ‘security culture’. In trying to justify their actions and legitimize the attack, French actors drew on shared European perceptions of a North African piratical threat and attempted to position the invasion as a continuation of earlier security efforts against piracy. Utilizing material from French, British, Dutch, Austrian and U.S. archives, this paper will hence provide a new take on a pivotal moment in Mediterranean history, showing how a cultural approach to international relations may help us in grasping the transnational dynamics of imperial expansion.