Historical Fractures, Trauma and Resistance in the Feminist Writings of Algerian Women Writers - Maïssa Bey, Assia Djebar and Leïla Sebbar


Maïssa Bey, Assia Djebar and Leïla Sebbar chronicle the painful trajectory and implicit silences of Algerian history from the French conquest (1830) to the war of Independence (1954-1962). They offer their gendered perspectives that feminize and complicate Algerian historicity and postcolonial subjectivity. Their writings dispel monolithic representations of women as passive victims of colonial history or nationalist ideology, even as they demonstrate how the masculinist ethics of war have ravaged the female body and women’s history through violence, silencing and exclusion. These writings expose the violence of the past and mediate the horror (and successes) of the postcolonial present; they also expose the women’s postcolonial rage. In so doing, these authors reveal their literary commitment to postmodern preoccupations with identity, exile, historical omissions, gender affirmations, de-colonial thought and feminist writing, as they evoke the wounds and unresolved traumas that inhibit successful decolonization.

The working paper is in French.


Published at 12 November 2014