Northwestern Events Calendar


MENA Mondays. Graduate Colloquium: Rachel Mihuta Grimm

When: Monday, March 14, 2016
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM CT

Where: University Hall, Room 201, 1897 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Lexy Gore   (847) 467-5314

Group: Middle East and North African Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings


The Unmaking of the World: Torture, Speech, and Sovereignty in Jérôme Ferrari’s Où j’ai laissé mon âme

The past two decades have been marked by the reemergence of the memory of the Algerian War of Independence in French national consciousness. The gradual opening in the mid-1990s of the archives of the Algerian War ignited a blaze of scholarship on the violent methods employed by the French during the war. The subsequent publication of incendiary revelations about the French army’s systematic use of torture inflamed public debate. This presentation will examine the memory of torture in the Algerian War as depicted in contemporary French novelist Jérôme Ferrari’s 2010 novel, Où j’ai laissé mon âme. Ferrari’s novel is unique not only in its unflinching depiction of torture from the perspective of its perpetrators, but also in its nuanced interrogation of colonial sovereignty in Algeria at a moment of profound political crisis. While most analyses of torture focus on speech about torture, either in the form of survivor testimonies or its political codification and justification in law, this presentation aims to highlight forms of speech produced under torture, specifically, the political stakes of the tortured confession and its implications for colonial sovereignty.

Rachel Mihuta Grimm is a third-year PhD student in the Department of French and Italian. Her research examines historical folds in the memory of the Algerian War of Independence, highlighting a historical complicity between memories of the totalitarian violence of the twentieth century, the collapse of French colonial sovereignty, and the emergence of a globalized, postcolonial world through the central figure of torture.

Commentary to follow by Noran Mohamed

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