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Memory and Postcolonial Studies

Synergies and New Directions


Edited By Dirk Göttsche

In the postcolonial reassessment of history, the themes of colonialism, decolonisation and individual and collective memory have always been intertwined, but it is only recently that the transcultural turn in memory studies has enabled proper dialogue between memory studies and postcolonial studies. This volume explores the synergies and tensions between memory studies and postcolonial studies across literatures and media from Europe, Africa and the Americas, and intersections with Asia. It makes a unique contribution to this growing international and interdisciplinary field by considering an unprecedented range of languages and sources that promotes dialogue across comparative literature, English and American studies, media studies, history and art history, and modern languages (French, German, Greek, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian-Croatian, Spanish).

Combining theoretical discussion with innovative case studies, the chapters consider various postcolonial politics of memory (with a focus on Africa); diasporic, traumatic and «multidirectional memory» (M. Rothberg) in postcolonial perspective; performative and linguistic aspects of postcolonial memory; and transcultural memoryscapes ranging from the Black Atlantic to the Indian Ocean, from overseas colonialism to the intra-European legacies of Habsburg, Ottoman and Russian/Soviet imperialism. This far-reaching enquiry promotes comparative postcolonial studies as a means of creating more integrated frames of reference for research and teaching on the interface between memory and postcolonialism.

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“Effacer mes mauvaises pensées”: Memory, writing and trauma in Nina Bouraoui’s autofiction (Antonia Wimbush)


Antonia Wimbush

“Effacer mes mauvaises pensées”:Memory, writing and trauma in Nina Bouraoui’s autofiction


By examining Mes mauvaises pensées (2005) by Franco-Algerian author Nina Bouraoui, I argue in this chapter that autofiction is a particularly productive space in which to remember postcolonial trauma. In Bouraoui’s case, trauma is provoked by geographic and metaphorical exile and is replicated on a large scale in Algeria’s recent history. Following Serge Doubrovsky’s autofictional model (1977), I posit that the intertwining of fact and fiction enables exile to be remembered on the author’s own terms. Moving away from Suzette Henke’s framework of ‘scriptotherapy’ (1998), I demonstrate that Bouraoui’s attempts to come to terms with her gendered, sexual and geographic otherness through autofiction are continuous but never complete.

Franco-Algerian author Nina Bouraoui’s personal story is one of exile, if exile is understood, in David Bevan’s terms, as “difference, otherness”.1 Born in Rennes in 1967 to a French mother and Algerian father, Bouraoui left for Algiers with her family when she was only two months old, because the family had found themselves victims of racial abuse in France following the bitterly fought Algerian War of Independence (1954–62). Regular summer stays with her maternal grandparents in France preceded her permanent exile from Algeria in 1980 as tensions towards the French, who were blamed by Algerians for atrocities committed against them during the war, continued to escalate. The family then moved to Switzerland, the United Arab...

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