Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

«I shall intervene, with nomad memory and intermittent voice»: resurrecting collective memory in Assia Djebar’s fantasia, an algerian cavalcade

Lobna Ben Salem


In Assia Djebar’s war narratives, it is women’s voices and experiences that are at the centre of narration, in contrast to traditional male-centred narratives of war and conflict. In Fantasia, an Algerian Cavalcade, there are multiple female protagonists, survivors of independence war, who, through storytelling, present shifting perspectives and a multiplicity of voices that contest monological historical versions. By reassembling the fragments of individual identities, lost and forgotten by history, the writer forges collective identity, focussing on the communal rather than private aspect of memory. The paper highlights the gender-specific nature of war memories; it examines the role of the narrative as a means of countering deficiencies of memory and combating historic amnesia. Centred on the idea that memory constructs identity, the paper investigates the extent to which a gendered memory of war can contribute in shaping collective identity, bearing in mind the interdependence but also the dissonance of orality and texting.

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