University of Oxford | 28–29 May 2018
European Studies Centre (St Antony’s College) & Maison Française d’Oxford
The workshop will shed new light on the individual and collective processes of the memorialisation of the Algerian War of Independence (1954–62), in contemporary Algeria and France.
Building on the conference I convened last year with James McDougall and Natalya Vince (The Algerian War of Independence: Global and Local Histories), the workshop draws the attention to the aftermath of the war, and more specifically to the memories and the representations of the conflict and beyond, moving towards a wider comprehension of the Algerian-French (un)relation. Far from the authoritarian synthesis so often presented as the ‘collective memory’, the workshop aims to root memories in a precisely located framework and then looks at how they are worked through in individual and local life-histories and representations.
Aiming to avoid the trap of the endless ‘memory wars’ that still infect Algerian and French public debate, the workshop shifts focus from what memory (and identity) is, to how it works. In so doing, particular attention is devoted to the local/global scales: this enables a detailed analysis of a multi-layered memory framework in contrast to the nation-state’s one-dimensional pattern, displaying the possible coexistence—not hierarchically ordered—of the local and translocal, national and transnational, and reveals the connections between them. The workshop will eventually show the potential of a truly interdisciplinary approach, connecting cutting edge research in the fields of memory studies and global history.
This workshop brings together scholars from various disciplines and different countries. Speakers and participants include a mix of senior scholars, graduates and early career researchers. The event will explore issues that are central to the historiography of Algeria and France but which also have a striking contemporary resonance. Debates in (post)colonial Europe and the Mediterranean over multiculturalism, memories and identities have immediate echoes in the social memories and representations of the Algerian War of Independence.