Professor, Anthropology Department, University of California, Los angeles
Période de résidence: 
Du 2 septembre au 20 décembre 2019
Projet de recherche: 
Dismantling a World: Algeria’s French Colonial Monumental Heritage
Résumé du projet: 

What are French Algeria’s colonial statues whether in Algeria or France? Art in public space, a lament for a lost empire, objects with a soul, a visual record of the Algerian native and the European settler who died together for France in two world wars? What national traditions about sculpture do these statues and war memorials invent and what questions confront different viewers? When do art historical concerns about spolia, iconoclasm and heritage get invoked? How have European forms of war memorializations, formed in the crucible of the Franco-Prussian war and two world wars, emerged in contemporary Algeria out of interactions with colonization, military service conscription of the colonized, and postcolonial relationships? My questions are the ways in which this “living on” of a vibrant afterlife of French Algeria is made manifest in memorials, commemorations, pilgrimages to monuments, and the artifact itself in France and Algeria. For Algerians today, given the high number of Algerian Muslim dead in two world wars, how has their participation in defense of France been understood and transformed across generations especially when the glories of the Algerian War of Independence overshadow everything else? What are the ways in which the victorious and former colonized demand to be part of the pantheon of those who died for France while rejecting incorporation in an oppressive colonial narrative? The proposed book project consists of chapters surrounding three case studies: The 1927 war memorial of Oran, Algeria legally transferred to Lyon, France in 1966; a statue of the Virgin Mary of Oran spoliated to Nimes, France in 1963; and the French Foreign Legion globe monument of Sidi-Bel-Abbès, a town founded as a military encampment and home to the legendary French Foreign Legion, illegally removed to the Legion’s new headquarters in Aubagne, France in September 1962, mere months after Algerian independence.

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Bio :

Susan Slyomovics is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is editor of several volumes and the author of How to Accept German Reparations (2014), The Performance of Human Rights in Morocco (2005), The Object of Memory: Arab and Jew Narrate the Palestinian Village (1998), and The Merchant of Art: A Hilali Oral Poet in Performance (1987). She has conducted fieldwork through the Middle East and North Africa and her current research project is on the fates of French colonial monuments of Algeria.

Curriculum Vitae: