Guerre d’Algérie, Révolution algérienne – histoire et mémoires

The Algerian War of Independence between 1954 and 1962 was one of the most violent wars of decolonisation of the twentieth century. It brought to an end 132 years of French rule in a territory which was not, legally, a colony, but rather départements of France, with a large settler population. It gave birth to a nation-state which positioned itself as a leader of the Third Worldist movement, a model in the decolonising world. The history of the conflict continues to be hotly contested. In addition to providing students with an overview of the Algerian War (as it is commonly known in France)/ the Algerian Revolution (as it is more frequently referred to in Algeria), the course will explore how interpreting the past is entangled in contemporary debates about political legitimacy, citizenship and belonging, “race” and the relationship between politics and violence.

  • The nature of colonial politics and society, and forms of anti-colonial resistance, on the eve of 1 November 1954
  • Guerrilla warfare, civilians and combatants, the use of violence
  • The war in a global context
  • “Winning hearts and minds”: late colonial development and “integration”
  • “Winners” and “losers” of decolonisation
  • The politics of memory in France and Algeria post-1962

The course will engage students in primary source material – including political pamphlets, newspapers, posters, propaganda films and oral history interviews – as well as extracts of fiction and film produced subsequently. Particular emphasis will be placed on centering not just the stories of “important men” in this history, but also the diverse perspectives and experiences of women, rural populations and other groups often marginalised in the historical record.