Nadja Makhlouf, Assia Tafat, from the series De l’invisible au visible: Moudjahidate, femmes combattantes, 2014.

Algerian Women and Their War Story/Stories

Online Conversation

Saturday, June 12, 2021, 1:00 pm

In conjunction with Beyond Metaphor: Women and War

Amongst the most iconic images of the Algerian War/Algerian Revolution 1954-62 are those of women in the National Liberation Front: women in the rural guerrilla, women planting bombs during “the Battle of Algiers”, women on put trial in French military courts. Such imagery reflects (some) of the roles of Algerian women during the conflict. It also reveals the political importance of having a story to tell about women in the war to the nationalist movement, the post-colonial state and Algerian society more broadly – a narrative which often makes little space for the multiplicity of women’s voices and experiences.

In her talk, Natalya Vince will explore the production of a dominant iconography and language to talk about women’s wartime role(s) and the different political uses to which this has been put by both the wartime and subsequent generations. This includes examining how women veterans themselves recount and relate to their wartime stories, and their place within the national story.

Natalya Vince will be joined by Arthur Asseraf for a conversation following the talk.

Natalya Vince is a Reader in North African Studies at the University of Portsmouth, UK. She is the author of Our Fighting Sisters: Nation, Memory and Gender in Algeria, 1954-2012 (Manchester University Press, 2015), winner of the 2016 Women’s History Network Book Prize and The Algerian War, the Algerian Revolution (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). She is also co-creator of the ongoing trilingual documentary project Generation independence: a people’s history.

Arthur Asseraf is a historian of modern France, North Africa, and the Mediterranean, with particular interests in the history of colonialism and information. He is Lecturer in the History of France and the Francophone World at the University of Cambridge. Asseraf is author of Electric News in Colonial Algeria (OUP, 2019) which won the Middle East Studies Book Prize, and a regular commentator on French and North African news for radio and online media.