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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Mesdames tirailleurs' and indirect clients: West African women and the French colonial army, 1908-1918
Author:Zimmerman, Sarah
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Geographic term:French West Africa
Subjects:colonial forces
black soldiers
social relations
marriage law
Abstract:Between 1908 and 1918, women associated with 'tirailleurs sénégalais' migrated to regional West African training centres and distant North African battlefields in order to suport West African infantrymen serving in the French colonial army. While the relationship between these women and 'tirailleurs sénégalais' did not radically alter over the course of a decade (1908-1918), the ways in which the French colonial army defined their relationship with the wives of 'tirailleurs sénégalais' evolved drastically. The shift from a colonial war of conquest in Morocco to a large-scale war in mainland France prompted the French military to reassess the desirability of having West African women as auxiliaries in the 'tirailleurs sénégalais' serving outside of French West Africa (AOF). This paper situates West African women in historical debates regarding civilian women's presence in the military, then historicizes their standing vis-ŕ-vis the French colonial army during the Moroccan conquest and World War I. Throughout this evolution, West African women affiliated with 'tirailleurs sénégalais' grappled with the authority of the colonial army. They found new ways to maintain and define their ties to West African soldiers. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]