“For Progress and Civilisation”: History, Memory and Alterity in Nineteenth Century Colonial Algeria

2018-01-15T15:47:18Z (GMT) by Rabah Aissaoui
This article explores the role played by the past and by notions of alterity and belonging in political and cultural debates pertaining to the Algerian colony in the nineteenth century. It identifies a number of historical and memorial references in French and Algerian discourse and shows how they inflected power relations in the colony at the time. This study considers how history and memory, as well as colonial relationships were invoked and represented by the French and by Algerian Muslims. It examines how French colonial narratives on past wars and conflicts intersected with representations the actual phenomenon of colonisation. It also discusses the emergence on the political scene of a small group of French-educated Algerian Muslims from the end of the nineteenth century. It assesses the extent to which those Algerians were able to develop an alternative political voice and to construct an empowering narrative on Algerians’ experience and identity that countered dominant French discourse.

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