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This volume explores the relationship between place, traumatic memory, and narrative. Drawing on cases from Africa, Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North and South America, the book provides a uniquely cross-cultural and global approach. Covering a wide range of cultural and linguistic contexts, the volume is divided into three parts: memorial spaces, sites of trauma, and traumatic representations. The contributions explore how acknowledgement of past suffering is key to the complex inter-relationship between the politics of memory, expressions of victimhood, and collective memory. Contributors take note of differing aspects of memorial culture, such as those embedded in war memorials, mass grave sites, and exhibitions, as well as journalistic, literary and visual forms of commemorations, to investigate how narratives of memory can give meaning and form to places of trauma.
Colonized by the French in 1830, Algeria was an important French settler colony that, unlike its neighbors, endured a lengthy and brutal war for independence from 1954 to 1962. The nearly one million Pieds-Noirs (literally "black-feet") were former French citizens of Algeria who suffered a traumatic departure from their homes and discrimination upon arrival in France. In response, the once heterogeneous group unified as a community as it struggled to maintain an identity and keep the memory of colonial Algeria alive. Remembering French Algeria examines the written and visual re-creation of Algeria by the former French citizens of Algeria from 1962 to the present. By detailing the preservation and transmission of memory prompted by this traumatic experience, Amy L. Hubbell demonstrates how colonial identity is encountered, reworked, and sustained in Pied-Noir literature and film, with the device of repetition functioning in these literary and visual texts to create a unified and nostalgic version of the past. At the same time, however, the Pieds-Noirs' compulsion to return compromises these efforts. Taking Albert Camus's Le Mythe de Sisyphe and his subsequent essays on ruins as a metaphor for Pied-Noir identity, this book studies autobiographical accounts by Marie Cardinal, Jacques Derrida, Helene Cixous, and Leila Sebbar, as well as lesser-known Algerian-born French citizens, to analyze movement as a destabilizing and productive approach to the past.
Autobiography in France has taken a decidedly visual turn in recent
years: photographs, shown or withheld, become evidence of what was,
might have been, or cannot be said; photographers, filmmakers, and
cartoonists undertake projects that explore issues of identity.
"Textual and Visual Selves" investigates, from a variety of
theoretical perspectives, the ways in which the textual and the
visual combine in certain French works to reconfigure ideas--and
Hoarding Memory looks at the ways the stories of the Algerian War (1954-62) have proliferated among the former French citizens of Algeria. By engaging hoarding as a model, Amy L. Hubbell demonstrates the simultaneously productive and destructive nature of clinging to memory. These memories present massive amounts of material, akin to the stored objects in a hoarder's house. Through analysis of fiction, autobiography, art, and history that extensively use collecting, layering, and repetition to address painful war memories, Hubbell shows trauma can be hidden within its own representation. Hoarding Memory dedicates chapters to specific authors and artists who use this hoarding technique: Marie Cardinal, Leila Sebbar, and Benjamin Stora in writing and Nicole Guiraud and Patrick Altes in art. Each were born in Algeria during colonial French rule but in vastly different contexts, and each suffered personal or inherited trauma from racism, physical and psychological abuse, terrorist and other violent acts of war, and exile in France. Zineb Sedira's artwork is also included as an example of traumatic memory inherited from her parents. Ultimately this book shows how traumatic experience can be conveyed in a seemingly open account that is compounded and compacted by the volume of words, images, and other memorial debris that testify to the pain.
The Unspeakable: Representations of Trauma in Francophone Literature and Art is situated at the crossroads of language, culture and genre; it contends that suffering transcends time, space and cultural specificity. Even when extreme trauma is silenced, it often still emerges in surprising and painful ways. This volume draws together examples from throughout the Francophone world, including countries such as Algeria, Morocco, Lebanon, Rwanda, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Haiti, New Caledonia, Quebec and France, and across genres such as autobiography, poetry, theater, film, fiction and visual art to provide a cohesive analysis of the representation of trauma. In addition to the survivors' expression of trauma, the witnesses and receivers are also taken into account. By gathering studies that explore diverse bodily and psychological traumas through tropes such as repetition, silence and working-through, it tackles ethical responsibility and interrogates how expressive forms evoke a terrible reality through the use of imagination. The aim of this volume is not to question if suffering is representable, but rather to examine to what extent art surpasses its own limitations and goes straight to its essence. The Unspeakable hopes to provide models for the cultural translation of trauma, because, when represented and released from silence and isolation, trauma can give way to the arduous process of healing.
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