Being Human: Screening of the film “The Battle of Algiers” & panel discussion

Since its release in 1966, Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers has become one of the most influential political films in cinema history. Recounting a key episode in the Algerian anti-colonial struggle, the film depicts the urban terror campaign waged by the National Liberation Front (FLN) in Algiers in 1957 and the French army’s merciless – but ultimately futile – fight to regain control of the capital. As a document on guerrilla warfare, the film was a source of inspiration for the Black Panthers and the IRA. In 2003, as the US and the UK invaded Iraq, The Battle of Algiers was screened at the Pentagon, with employees invited to come and learn ‘how to win a battle against terrorism and lose the war of ideas.’ As a lesson in filmmaking, Pontecorvo’s documentary style, use of music and direction of non-professional actors has influenced a wide range of contemporary directors, including Paul Greengrass, Spike Lee, Ken Loach, Mira Nair, Steven Soderbergh, Oliver Stone and Quentin Tarantino are among those who cite the film as a reference. The screening of the film will be followed by a panel discussion of its national and transnational significance and legacy, both in film studies, and in terms of […]

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Competing cartography in the colonial context: the case of Cameroon

In this post, Dieunedort Wandji, a student on the MA Francophone Africa programme, presents his independent research project on colonial mapping and Cameroon. As part of my MA in Francophone Africa at the University of Portsmouth, I undertook an Independent Project exploring the relationship between colonial power and mapping. For this project, I began by exploring the theoretical approaches to maps and mappings as they relate to the colonial context, precisely against the backdrop of colonial competition in Cameroon. Drawing on seminal works on critical cartography, I also attempted to recover the voices of the colonised through maps, along with assessing the post-colonial impact of colonial mapping as regards Cameroon. This blog will provide a brief overview of the theoretical underpinnings of my research, as well as the main research questions and aims, I hope to address in my project. The final project comprises of an online presentation of the visual features of maps, with conclusions derived from analyzing various maps and based on the theoretical framework developed around colonial mapping. This presentation is aimed at both undergraduate and graduate students of Francophone Africa with an interest in the colonial period and mapping, as well as those who wish to […]

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