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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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Proximate spaces of violence: Multidirectional memory in Rachid Bouchareb’s films Days of Glory and Outside the Law (Alex Hastie)


Alex Hastie

Proximate spaces of violence:Multidirectional memory in Rachid Bouchareb’s films Days of Glory and Outside the Law


Rachid Bouchareb’s historical epics Indigènes (Days of Glory, 2006) and Hors-la-loi (Outside the Law, 2010) emerge at a crucial time in France, in which key questions about the place of France’s North African population have been asked. These films (re)imaginatively centre the histories of France’s colonial relationship with North Africa, particularly Algeria. Drawing upon Michael Rothberg’s theory of ‘multidirectional memory’, and postcolonial notions of ‘haunting’, this chapter examines Bouchareb’s films for the ways in which they produce a postcolonial memory that both feeds into and disrupts dominant geographical and historical imaginaries.


Memories of French colonization in Algeria, particularly the War of Independence (1954–62), have been relatively “occluded” and “blocked” (p. 128) in French society and cinemas.1 However, a recent trend in so-called beur cinema2 (re)imaginatively and collectively tells (some) of the forgotten stories of Franco-Algerian history, in which narratives of←255 | 256→ Algerian (de)colonization are interwoven with those of fascism in wartime Europe. Among these films are Rachid Bouchareb’s World War II combat epic Indigènes (Days of Glory, 2006),3 and its sequel, Algerian war thriller Hors-la-loi (Outside the Law, 2010).4 Drawing on Michael Rothberg’s theory of “multidirectional memory”,5 this chapter highlights the dialectic relationship between intertwined memories of colonialism and fascism, through which the films produce a postcolonial memory that...

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