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

Working paper de Brinda Mehta

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 author

Brinda Mehta holds the Literature Chair Germaine Thompson from Mills College in Oakland, California, where she teaches postcolonial African and Caribbean literature, Francophone culture and literature, transnational feminist theory, and French twentieth-century literature. She is also an Assistant Professor at the Center for Gender Studies and Development, Ph.D. programs at the University of the West Indies in Barbados, and Assistant Professor at the Center for Race and Gender at the University of California, Berkeley. Her fields of specialization are Francophonie, postcolonial theory and literature, feminism and gender, Indo-Caribbean women writers, Francophone Arab women authors, nineteenth-century French literature and post-colonial authors in France.


Brinda Mehta. Fractures historiques, trauma et résistance dans l’écriture féministe algérienne : Maïssa Bey, Assia Djebar et Leïla Sebbar. FMSH-WP-2014-82. 2014.

Published at 7 November 2014