Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


French Studies

Document Type



Algeria exemplifies a unique case of colonial domination, and of the problems that the colonial system generates. 132 years of colonial rule and settlement led to one of the bloodiest and most difficult battles of decolonization fought in the twentieth century. After eight years of war (1954-1962), which resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, Algeria became independent. As the postcolonial society abandoned the French language in an effort to promote Algerian nationalism and create and Arab-Algerian identity, Algeria entered another violent civil war in the 1990s. Thus today, more than fifty years after Algeria gained independence, and twenty years after the brutal war, I question for the first time how three prominent French-Algerian figures, Albert Camus, Frantz Fanon, and Assia Djebar discuss these events and address how their writings provide us with a unique representation of Algeria’s evolution as a contentious postcolonial, francophone, literary space. Through a comparative analysis of literary and non-literary texts, this study investigates why it is necessary for these three French Algerian authors to mythologize their Algerian home, or adopted home, in order to comprehend their experiences and address fundamental events. I will observe how their memories, and inclusion of autobiographical details, are essential to their view of Algeria. In doing so, we will see how Algeria has evolved from a colonial site to a region that epitomizes transnational and transcultural identity. This study will demonstrate how these writers and their publications evoke similar or dissimilar images of Algeria as they describe or defend their individual or chosen communities. Despite their designation as a colonial, anticolonial, or postcolonial figure, I will prove that their legacies are inspired by both mythology and memory as narrative devices in order to create an Algerian mythopoetics which I define as the process of how they create repeated commonplaces to describe people, or a place, or a historical event and transmit them throughout the decades in their writing.



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Committee Chair

Russo, Adelaide M