International Journal of Francophone Studies 21.3&4 is now available

Intellect is happy to announce that the International Journal of Francophone Studies 21.3&4 is now available! For more information about the special issue, click here >>

Special Issue: Rupture, repression, repetition: The Algerian War of Independence in the present


Rupture, repression, repetition: The Algerian War of Independence in the present
Authors: Daniel Hartley And Beatrice Ivey 

Page Start: 185

What are the legacies of the Algerian War of Independence in the present? More specifically, how do the Algerian War of Independence and its subsequent memorializations force us to reconceptualize historical temporality itself (of which the ‘legacy’ is but one variation)? The following introduction to this special issue provides an overarching framework for multiple answers to these questions. The first half of the introduction focuses on the philosophical and conceptual afterlives of the Algerian War in contemporary French critical thought. In doing so, it attempts to delineate the significant political import of historical temporality as such, setting out a basic problematic to which the articles that follow can be seen variously to respond. In the second part of the introduction, the general cultural and historical legacies of the Algerian War of Independence, and the ‘mnemonic forms’ (Erll 2011) of rupture, repression and repetition that mediate them, come into focus: the ‘rupture’ from a colonial past, the Freudian ‘repression’ of traumatic history, and the ostensible ‘repetition’ of violence in the present. In general, the introduction hopes to open a dialogue with works conducted on these ‘forms’, scrutinizing the effects they have had on the various re-imaginings of the war and its transnational legacies, yet without foreclosing other forms this history may take.

Contested commemoration: The Great War, memory and politics in contemporary Algeria

Authors: Dónal Hassett 
Page Start: 209

The past four years have seen a whole range of commemorative events around the globe to mark the centenary of the Great War. Few, however, have proved as controversial as the participation of Algerian troops in 2014s Bastille Day parade in Paris. This article examines the heated debate provoked by the Algerian presence at this act of commemoration, asking what it tells us about the complex interactions between history, memory and the practice of politics in contemporary Algeria. It traces the evolution of attitudes towards the Great War over time and asks how the dominance of the War of Independence in political discourse has shaped how politicians and public intellectuals have understood and mobilized the memory of Algeria’s involvement in the First World War. Finally, it uses this case study to explore how, in Algeria, evoking the past has simultaneously legitimized and limited opposition to the status quo.

Severed images: Women, the Algerian War of Independence and the mobile documentary idea

Authors: Siona Wilson 
Page Start: 233

During the Algerian War of Independence (1954–62), conflicts over the meaning of appearances, particularly in relation to the bodies of Algerian women, were a major locus for political conflict, subterfuge and violence. As demonstrated in the most famous representation of the war, Gillo Pontecorvo’s widely celebrated film La bataille d’Alger (Pontecorvo, 1966), the strategic use of the veil and of unveiling was the mechanism that produced the Algerian woman as insurgent. What the eyes (or camera) saw was not always to be believed and nor was visual appearance akin, in any straightforward way, to truth. Drawing on key historical examples, including La bataille d’Alger, Marc Garanger’s Femmes algériennes 1960 (1960) and Assia Djebar’s 1979 essay ‘Regard interdit, son coupé’, as well as Zineb Sedira’s contemporary film installation Gardiennes d’images (2010), this article proposes a theory of the documentary image in light of the political complexities over vision and appearance that have continued to haunt the historical representation of Algerian women. Placing an emphasis on the circulation of images and the mobility of meaning, the argument stresses communities of political belief rather than visual truth in establishing documentary meaning.

The influence of French colonial humanism on the study of late antiquity: Braudel, Marrou, Brown

Authors: Thomas E. Hunt 
Page Start: 255

Late antiquity is a sub-discipline of history. It is also a particular way of representing the time and space of the past. Studies in late antiquity tend to focus on the culture and society of the late Roman world. This article argues that this way of imagining time and space and people derives from francophone debates about colonial governance that were current in the 1920s and 1930s. This colonial humanism provided the context for two francophone authors whose work heavily influenced the formation of late antiquity: Fernand Braudel and Henri Marrou. This article shows how Braudel and Marrou were influenced by colonial humanism and how this influence shaped the formation of late antiquity. Historiographical accounts of the study of late antiquity have noted a recurring preoccupation with modernity. This article argues that late antiquity is modern to the extent that it is dependent on the colony for its constitution.

The remains of an empire in ruin: Remembering torture and the colonial state of exception in Jérôme Ferrari’s Où j’ai laissé mon âme

Authors: Rachel Mihuta Grimm 
Page Start: 279

Since the turn of the twenty-first century, the use of torture during the Algerian War of Independence has been the subject of renewed controversy in France, raising questions about the traumatic reverberations of France’s colonial past in the present. While scholars often address the violence of torture by analysing what it accomplishes, this article is concerned with the cognitive, discursive and ideological conditions under which torture becomes permissible. This article suggests that the systematic practice of torture is contingent on the construction of a perceptive reality in which the normative dictates of law and morality have been suspended or no longer apply. Drawing on the work of Giorgio Agamben, this article seeks to understand the progressive normalization of torture under the historical paradigm of the state of exception. Thinking paradigmatically about the past not only reveals the concealed sociopolitical coordinates underlying a specific historical experience, but also constitutes a broader historical context, producing forms of intelligibility that cut across temporal and territorial boundaries. Through a reading of Jérôme Ferrari’s novel Où j’ai laissé mon âme (2010), this article addresses the ethical and epistemological issues that arise when torture is remembered as a paradigmatic rendering of the state of exception.

The Algerian Revolution, the French state and the colonial counter-revolutionary strategy of the Holy Republic

Authors: Selim Nadi 
Page Start: 301

This article takes a materialist approach to the so-called ‘memory war’ over France’s colonial past especially the Algerian War of Independence, and its continuity in the present. It attempts to reinsert the ‘memory war’ within the larger context of the institutional materiality of French neo-colonial racism, in both its ideological and repressive modalities. By focusing on three specific aspects of the neo-colonial organization of the French state, the permanent state of emergency, the spatial organization of neo-colonial racism in France, and the politicization of the new French indigènes, this article argues that one cannot understand France’s Algerian past may not necessarily be understood through a debate over French ‘repentance’, and nor could today’s racism be understood solely as ‘ideological’ (in the commonplace sense of this term). It aims to show how French colonialism in Algeria, and the handling of the Algerian Revolution by the French state, have shaped the French state and its control of non-white people living in France today.

Affect, postmemory and gender in Nina Bouraoui’s Sauvage and Garçon manqué

Authors: Beatrice Ivey 
Page Start: 325

This article explores the affective and gendered transmission of ‘postmemory’ in Garçon manqué (2000) and Sauvages (2010) by Nina Bouraoui. These two narratives take place at the end of the 1970s in Algiers, a transitional period in Algerian history, but also a key moment where the generation born after independence in 1962 express and create their own memories of colonialism and the Algerian Revolution. The focus of the article will be to reveal the representation of postmemorial transmission across forms of mediation that are simultaneously affective, embodied and gendered. From this perspective, it analyses generational memory as a ‘mauvais cadeau’, photographs and other affective objects, and gendered multidirectional memory to show how Bouraoui’s novels trouble singular, normative expressions of gendered and national identity. Bouraoui’s protagonists from the post-generation are thus characterized as ‘mnemonic agents’ who cross gendered and national borders.
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