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Title: Archival excavations : photography, the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62) and the afterlives of images
Author: Falecka, Katarzyna Weronika
ISNI:       0000 0004 9359 0854
Awarding Body: University College London (UCL)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis investigates the re-emergence of historical photographs from the Algerian War of Independence (1954-62) in visual culture since the early 1980s. Against ongoing political disputes surrounding the return of archives pertaining to the war from France to Algeria, artists and photographers including Dennis Adams, Marc Garanger, Zineb Sedira, Bruno Boudjelal, Nadja Makhlouf, Marwa Arsanios and others have all mined, queried and remediated both state and private collections within their own practices. By situating their work within the broader archival turn in contemporary visual culture, I seek to move beyond readings that privilege the formal and structural qualities of archive-based practices at the expense of engaging with the historical and political specificities of the collections from which they draw their sources. Given the contested nature of archives of decolonisation, the practices discussed in this thesis provide a lens through which I interrogate the potential of historical photographs for writing histories of conflict. By focusing on the mobility and circulation of selected war photographs, this thesis examines the political, cultural and social motivations behind these resurfacings in close relation to the shifting memorial landscapes of the conflict in Algeria and in France. While scholarship on the memorial legacy of the Algerian War of Independence has tended to assign collective memories to specific groups, the archive-based practices discussed in this thesis flesh out the tentative nature of such clear-cut delineations. They reveal that historical photographs articulate a range of possible subjectivities which become foregrounded based on the specific, and ever-shifting, needs of the present. The thesis argues that as much as these practices shed light on the photographic archives of the war, they equally speak to the contemporary moment, urging us to think critically about what the politics of archival excavations might be.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available