Northwestern Events Calendar


Afrisem: Graduate Student Africa Seminar

When: Wednesday, January 15, 2020
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM CT

Where: 620 Library Place, Evanston, IL 60208 Evanston map it

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

Contact: Program of African Studies   (847) 491-7323

Group: Program of African Studies

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Presenter: Raja Ben Hammed Dorval

Department/Program: French 

Title of Presentation: Immigration and Nationalism: The Algerian Example of the North African Star
Abstract: How can the experience of immigration become an affirmation of national identities for the colonial and postcolonial subject? The Algerian immigrants in France in the 1930’s and 40’s gave the example of a politically engaged immigrant in both the politics of the guest-land and the homeland. While the French national state has set its identity through perpetual processes of othering and externalization, the North-African immigrants in this period managed with the collaboration of the French communist parties, to articulate new political identities that are marked by their multicultural nature. This paper argues that the Algerian nationalist organization, Étoile Nord-Africaine, founded in 1929 by Messali Hadj (1898-1974) is an outstanding example of organized struggle against the otherizing of the Arab Moslem immigrants in the Interwar period. While advocating for the social, economic and political rights of the Moslem workers and the French proletariat, the Algerians have turned immigration into a political site to denounce their status as French subjects and affirm their Arab, Berber and Muslim identities, while including other ethnicities and religions. Muslim here becomes a unifying yet multicultural (plural) category. In spite of the colonial and postcolonial alienation experienced by these immigrants, they managed to play an important role simultaneously in the independence of Algeria and the construction of modern France.

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