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Title: Between history and fiction : the destabilisation of masculinist history in contemporary Algerian women's fiction
Author: Kosniowski, Jennifer
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 213X
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Masculinist constructions of Algerian history relegate women to symbolic roles. The texts by Algerian women writers studied in my thesis all use fiction to express agency and create empowerment through – or in spite of – these symbolic positions. My thesis is concerned with how fiction highlights and negotiates various manifestations of the tension created when authors engage with masculinist historical discourses by casting women in – and so perhaps validating – the roles that they are assigned within these same discourses. Chapter one defines what I am terming 'masculinist history' by analysing historical documents. Chapter two examines how, in Assia Djebar's La Femme sans sépulture, Leïla Marouane's La Jeune Fille et la Mère, and Maïssa Bey's Entendez-vous dans les montagnes ..., real-life freedom-fighters are fictionalised in a way that negotiates the tension between filling in the blanks of history and upholding discourses of martyrdom. The third chapter explores the more recent violence in Algeria, how Bey's Puisque mon coeur est mort and Marouane's Le Châtiment des hypocrites employ fiction to create sites of mourning that are otherwise unavailable because of the amnesty for crimes committed during this period – although the violent conclusions of the texts imply the limitations of fiction in this respect. Chapter four moves away from representations of women caught up in extraordinary circumstances and focuses on the everyday. This chapter investigates the figuration of the domestic as a site of female resistance to both patriarchal and colonial oppression – a figuration that simultaneously risks reinforcing women's symbolic position as bastions of tradition – in Djebar's Nulle part dans la maison de mon père and Bey's Bleu blanc vert. Finally, the fifth chapter inspects how Ahlam Mosteghanemi's Chaos of the Senses reconfigures her earlier fictional work in a way that spotlights female agency, and how Malika Mokeddem's autobiographical La Transe des insoumis does something similar, but in a much more personal way. Across the thesis I therefore conceptualise a history/fiction entre-deux that is not so much a space of emancipation as it is multiple spaces that allow for an exploration of agency within traditional – and often oppressive – female roles.
Supervisor: Harrison, Nicholas Davenport Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available