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Women's and gender studies
The Algerian War (1954-1962) was arguably the most traumatic war of decolonisation fought by Western colonial powers. As the 50th anniversary of Algerian independence approaches, this “War Without a Name” remains a problematic subject in France, in which the commemoration of the war, the teaching of colonial history and issues associated with North African immigration and French identity, are hotly contested subjects. An especially neglected aspect of the Algerian war has been the one million French of Algeria, now known as pieds-noirs, who fled to France near the end of the conflict. As a symbol of a failed colonial system, they were a group few were anxious to remember. This paper will examine the activism of pied- noir women in a significant way: writing and publishing their memories of colonial Algeria to prevent their story from being forgotten. Moreover, it will study the active participation of a pied-noir woman, Micheline Susini, in the OAS (Organisation de l’armée secrete), a terrorist group opposing Algerian independence. This paper will also outline the active role of Muslim women in the war, which was subsequently denied or marginalised by historians in Algeria, as women were encouraged to return to the domestic sphere. Like pied-noir women, Muslim women have tried to make their voices heard through writing. This paper will refer to Djamila Amrane’s account of the role Muslim women played in obtaining independence and suggest that they later found themselves constrained in the role of keepers of traditional Algerian identity. This paper will question whether traditional gender roles took on exaggerated significance in the colonial situation, not just for the colonised populations, but also for the pieds-noirs.
Connolly, A. (2012). Women as keepers of Algerian and pied-noir identity. Socheolas: Limerick Student Journal of Sociology, 4(1). http://hdl.handle.net/10344/8020