Biribi: disciplining and punishing in the French empire

Nicola Cooper

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


This article discusses the infamous Bataillons d’Afrique to which French former criminals were sent to complete their duty of military service. The ‘Bat d’Af’ were created to prevent the young male bourgeoisie from having to mix with these ‘undesirables’ and ‘reprobates’, and they were stationed well away from the mainland in France’s North African colonies. This article discusses themes such as discipline, punishment, torture, homosexuality, interracial power relations, and delinquent ‘cultures’ in this imperial context.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4
Pages (from-to)321-329
Number of pages9
JournalFrench Cultural Studies
Issue number4
Early online date28 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2018


  • Biribi
  • Bataillons d’Afrique
  • disciplinary military battalions
  • French empire
  • military prisons


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