Presentation-debate on the book “Les raisins de la domination. Une histoire sociale de l’alcool en Tunisie à l’époque du Protectorat (1881-1956)”
MECAM organizes, on May 4 in collaboration with the IRMC and on May 5, 2023 in collaboration with the Laboratoire Monde Arabo-Islamique Médiéval, a presentation-debate on the book “Les raisins de la domination. Une histoire sociale de l’alcool en Tunisie à l’époque du Protectorat (1881-1956)”, in the presence of the author Nessim Znaien, Associate Professor at the Philipps-Universität Marburg (Germany), for the History of the colonial and post-colonial Maghreb, historian and associate researcher at the IRMC, and member of the executive council of MECAM.
Did colonisation modify the daily life of the population? It is from this general questioning that Nessim Znaien approaches the history of Tunisia during the Protectorate (1881-1956). By analysing the letters of the high administration, the press, the literary writings, the police, judicial and hospital archives, this book deals with particular products in the land of Islam: alcoholic drinks. Despite the religious ban on wine and alcoholic beverages to which the Muslim majority of the population is subjected, various elites converged from the beginning of the 20th century to invent a Tunisian wine tradition. It was a question of justifying the planting of vines, which the French colonisers imposed from the 1890s onwards, to supply the metropolitan market with wine, in the context of the phylloxera crisis which affected a large part of the French vineyards. This wine production led to a boom in the consumption of alcoholic drinks in Tunisia. The rural landscapes of the north of the country were covered with vines, while the main towns saw a sharp increase in the number of drinking establishments. This democratisation of alcohol ended up posing a political problem for the colonial authorities and the Tunisian nationalist elites and led to a wave of prohibition from the First World War onwards, reaching its peak in the 1930s. In the last twenty years of the Protectorate, public drunkenness and the consumption of alcoholic beverages by Muslims made the Tunisian and French elites react less and less. The consumption of alcohol became increasingly trivial, even though it continued to increase. In an approach based on material culture and the history of food, this book approaches the history of alcoholic beverages as a “total fact”, revealing political and religious mentalities, as well as economic standards of living and relationships of domination within societies.
Date of the event: 4 May 2023, 17:30 (CET)
Venue: IRMC Library
Date of the event: 5 May 2023, 15:30 (CET)
Venue: Mahmoud Messaadi Auditorium, Faculty of Human and Social Sciences of Tunis