Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Algerian Paris: Place, identity, and the war
by Amine, Laila, Ph.D., Indiana University, 2011, 267; 3466312
Abstract (Summary)

My dissertation, Algerian Paris: Place, Identity, and the War , reveals the long shadow that the Algerian war (1954–1962) cast over representations of Paris in Maghrebi, African American, and French literary, cultural, and political histories, between the 1950s and the 1990s. I coin the phrase “Algerian Paris” to describe an alternative vision of Paris that challenges hegemonic depictions of the city as a site of artistic freedom, racial liberation, and interracial romance. The novels by Moroccan author Driss Chraïbi, African American expatriate novelist William Gardner Smith, beur author Mehdi Charef, and Algerian writer Leïla Sebbar not only rewrite dominant national narratives of progress and equality by illuminating the experiences of Algerian workers in the precarious slums, the overcrowded and insalubrious Arab quarters, or those of their descendants in the neglected banlieues, but they also fashion alternative narratives and communities. In their fiction, Algerian Paris becomes a locus of power struggles for self-representation, equal rights, cultural recognition, and the emergence of an inclusive history. The transnational examination of an Algerian Paris generates an ensemble of metaphors and tropes to consider decolonization struggle and immigration, black American expatriation and the solidarities among subalterns, as well as identity formation and the legacies of colonialism in France. Algerian Paris, indeed, unearths a reservoir of alternative tropes associated with Paris such as interracial divorce, placelessness, brotherhood, and masculine domination. Crucially, my project interrogates French universalism by illuminating how identities and feelings of national membership shape, and are shaped by the politics of place.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cohn, Deborah, Bose, Purnima
Commitee: Guterl, Matthew, Halloran, Vivian
School: Indiana University
Department: Comparative Literature
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-A 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: African Studies, Comparative literature, Ethnic studies
Keywords: African American expatriates, Algeria, Algerian war, Black Paris, Charef, Mehdi, Chraibi, Driss, Francophone authors, Paris, Sebbar, Leila, Smith, William Gardner
Publication Number: 3466312
ISBN: 9781124793252
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