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Institute in Paris

Dr Charlotte Legg

Senior Lecturer in French Studies

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Summary of research interests and expertise

  • Colonial History
  • Modern History
  • Settler Colonial Studies
  • Gender History
  • Cultural History

My research focuses on the settler colonies of the French and British empires in the 19th and 20th centuries. I am especially interested in how settlers influenced the dynamics of power in these empires, and how these dynamics shaped processes of identification across colonial populations. My research highlights connections between and across empires, revealing how processes of identification were, at once, local, national and transnational.

My work on Algeria has examined medicine and the press as sites of imagination and production of forms of local, national and transnational community among European settlers and Algerian Muslims and Jews. In a first monograph, to be published in the ‘France Overseas’ series of the University of Nebraska Press in 2020/2021, I examine the claims of settler journalists in Algeria, who presented the mixed European settler community as a ‘new white race’ forged from the interaction of ‘Latin’ peoples in the North African environment. The representation of settlers as a particular local manifestation of a transnational racial community destabilised French claims to Algeria as part of French national territory. Despite their marginalisation in the press, Algerian Muslims and Jews also made use of newspapers to exploit these tensions in settler-colonial power dynamics, in order to redraw the boundaries of the French nation and to propose alternative forms of community.

Supported by a research grant from the British Academy, my current research project places French debates about Algeria in the late 19th century in the context of French views of British settler colonies in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Although journalists often presented Britain and France as bitter rivals, diplomats and administrators in the settler colonies of their empires frequently collaborated to support each other and protect each other’s authority. Despite their apparent contradictions, the media and colonial administrators ultimately worked together to create a dominant discourse of white European masculinity.


MRes History (University of Southampton); PhD in French Studies and History (New York University).



  • Charlotte Ann Legg, The New White Race: Settler Colonialism and the Press in French Algeria, 1860-1914, (University of Nebraska Press, June 2021)
  • Charlotte Ann Legg, ‘The Medical Press and the Settler Colonial Politics of Persuasion in French Algeria, 1850-1914’, History, 104, 359 (2019), 105-124.
  • Charlotte Ann Chopin, ‘Pages without borders: global networks and the settler press in Algeria, 1881-1914(Opens in new window)’, Settler Colonial Studies, 8, 2 (2018), 152-174.
  • Fiona Barclay, Charlotte Ann Chopin and Martin Evans, ‘Introduction: settler colonialism in French Algeria’, Settler Colonial Studies, 8, 2 (2018), 115-130.
  • Charlotte Ann Chopin, ‘Embodying “the new white race”: Colonial Doctors and Settler Society in Algeria, 1878-1911’, Social History of Medicine Vol.29, No.1 (2016),1-20.