The Afterlives of the Algerian War in Contemporary France: Literary Narratives and Contested Spaces of Memory

Hiscock, H
(2019) The Afterlives of the Algerian War in Contemporary France: Literary Narratives and Contested Spaces of Memory. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Commemoration of the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962) is increasingly widespread in the public space in contemporary France, but is also the subject of a range of political disputes over representation. Among the large population in France shaped by the conflict and its consequences there are several different groups, each with specific historical narratives and reference points around which memory is mobilized. This thesis analyses a corpus of narratives published between 2002 and 2014 that represent processes of remembrance relating to three of these groups: Harkis – Algerians who served in the French military, pieds-noirs – members of the European settler population, and former French conscripts and reservist soldiers. The aim of this thesis is to assess how these recent literary works mediate memories of the conflict and its lasting consequences in a context of divisions and fractious commemorations in France. The Introduction presents an overview of the research questions of the thesis and the framework for analysis of texts. Chapter 1 establishes the context of the political debates over commemoration during the period in question. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 study each of the three constituencies and focus consistently on the original ways in which texts deal with dynamics of the intergenerational transmission of memory in order to achieve greater clarity on the past. Across all eight works, the conceptualization by authors of approaches towards the mediation of memory also supports new forms of interaction between the different groups. These methods of engagement with legacies of the conflict stand in contrast to many recent physical sites of memory and political initiatives for commemoration in France. By combining textual analysis with the historical and socio-political contextualization of debates over collective memory, this thesis overall examines the ways in which contemporary literary works represent effective ways of negotiating the tensions in France that continue to surround connections to the Algerian War of Independence and colonialism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Histories, Languages and Cultures
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2019 13:51
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 00:56
DOI: 10.17638/03034778