Muslims and Citizens Politics, and the French Revolution

Muslims and Citizens Politics, and the French Revolution

- in Books

By Ian Coller

From the beginning, French revolutionaries imagined their transformation as a universal one that must include Muslims, Europe’s most immediate neighbors. They believed in a world in which Muslims could and would be French citizens, but they disagreed violently about how to implement their visions of universalism and accommodate religious and social difference. Muslims, too, saw an opportunity, particularly as European powers turned against the new French Republic, leaving the Muslim polities of the Middle East and North Africa as France’s only friends in the region. In Muslims and Citizens, Coller examines how Muslims came to participate in the political struggles of the revolution and how revolutionaries used Muslims in France and beyond as a test case for their ideals. In his final chapter, Coller reveals how the French Revolution’s fascination with the Muslim world paved the way to Napoleon’s disastrous invasion of Egypt in 1798.

Ian Coller is professor of history at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of Arab France: Islam and the Making of Modern Europe, 1798–1831.


“This elegant, braided history of Muslims and French citizenship is urgently needed. It will be a ‘must read’ for students of the French Revolution and anyone interested in modern France.”— Carla Hesse, University of California, Berkeley

“The ‘Coller thesis’ challenges us to rethink the internationalism of the French Revolution from the perspective of the revolutionary Mediterranean and the Muslim world, not the Atlantic alone. This is provocative and brilliant history.”—Peter McPhee, author of Liberty or Death: The French Revolution, 1789-1799

“A fascinating and brilliant book. The way in which Muslims in France lived through the Revolution and the shaping of French attitudes towards Muslims reveals much about the French revolutionary construction of citizenship and identity in this epoch.” —Michael Rapport, University of Glasgow


Publisher: Yale University Press

ISBN: 9780300243369

Hardback 360 pages £40.00

Date of publishing: 28 Apr 2020


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