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‘Constructions of the Algerian War appelés in French cultural memory’
The Algerian War (1954-1962) is now renowned as one of the most traumatic episodes of recent French History, however for most of the 50-year period since the war ended it was absent from French collective memory. My PhD project considers how this period of ‘amnesia’ and the subsequent recognition of the war in the 1990s and 2000s were mediated in cultural representations of the 1.4 million French military service conscripts [appelés] who served in Algeria.
Through examining four sets of texts across four different media (television, prose fiction, photography and online) and setting them against the social and historical context in which they were created, the project charts the evolution of a cultural construction of the appelés across the period since the end of the Algerian War. The conclusions drawn from this study question some of the widely held theories around the evolution of Algerian War memory, around the Halbwachsian model of socially constructed memory, and posit the fundamental importance of medium on memory.
Chapters in books
‘Conflicting memories: modernisation, colonialism and the Algerian War appelés in Cinq colonnes à la une’ in Fiona Barclay (ed.), France's Colonial Legacies: Memory, Identity and Narrative (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, Forthcoming 2012).
‘Between ‘homosexual’ and ‘homosocial’: Constructions of masculinity in photography of the Algerian War appelés’ in Matthew Berry and Hannah O’Connor (eds.), Forbidden Fruits, Forbidden Histories: going past the accepted queer canon (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Forthcoming 2013).
I completed my undergraduate studies at Leeds University, gaining a First Class Honours degree in French Studies in 2008. Having built an interest in both French photography and in the History of the Algerian War, I continued onto an MA by Research at Leeds which combined these two strands (completed in 2009). This experience led me onto my current studies at Cardiff University (generously funded by the AHRC), looking at constructions of the military service conscripts of the Algerian War in French cultural memory.