Colonialism denied Algeria its own history; nationalism reinvented it. James McDougall charts the creation of that history through colonialism to independence, exploring the struggle to define Algeria's past and determine the meaning of its nationhood. Through local histories, he analyses the relationship between history, Islamic culture and nationalism in Algeria. He confronts prevailing notions that nationalism emancipated Algerian history, and that Algeria's past has somehow determined its present, violence breeding violence, tragedy repeating itself. Instead, he argues, nationalism was a new kind of domination, in which multiple memories and possible futures were effaced. But the histories hidden by nationalism remain below the surface, and can be recovered to create alternative visions for the future. This is an exceptional and engaging book, rich in analysis and documentation. It will be read by colonial historians and social theorists as well as by scholars of the Middle East and North Africa.
• First critical study of Algerian nationalism available in English • Valuable addition to the literature on colonialism, post-colonial culture and politics, nationalism and national identity, popular culture and the formation of nation-states, and twentieth-century Islam • Interdisciplinary research combining historical, sociological and anthropological analysis
Preface; The language of history; Prologue: Tunis, 1899; 1. The margins of a world in fragments; 2. The conquest conquered?; 3. The doctors of new religion; 4. Saint cults and ancestors; 5. Arabs and Berbers?; Epilogue: Algiers, 2001; The invention of authenticity; Bibliography.