Date Thesis Awarded

4-2017

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

History

Advisor

Ayfer Karakaya Stump

Committee Member

Robert Trent Vinson

Committee Member

Kathrin Levitan

Committee Member

Jonathan Glasser

Abstract

Fadhma Amrouche’s autobiography, Histoire de ma vie, sheds light on the complex life of an Algerian Berber woman from a Muslim village who was born under the French colonial regime. Due to the unusual circumstances of her birth, that is, being the illegitimate daughter of a mourning widow, she was able to receive a French colonial education, through which she learned how to read and write in which case she was eventually allowed to obtain a job. Also because of the events surrounding her birth, she was forced to have to live amongst, and be raised by, Christians, which eventually led to her officially converting to Christianity when she married. Yet, although she considered herself of spiritual nature and truly believed in God, she never considered herself fully Christian, or Muslim for that matter, and often doubted their respective doctrines. These circumstances, and the effects they had on Fadhma’s legacy, can be analyzed by placing them within the larger historical context, one that focuses on phenomena and ideologies that emerged or developed during her lifetime, themes such as colonialism, feminism and secularism. She observed, and lived, as Algeria changed from a colony struggling with oppression to a revolutionary state. This thesis seeks to ask questions, and offer answers, about how her autobiography, arguably written by a subaltern, reveals a well-weaved thread of knowledge about the time period that can be followed to the present day. Topics such as dislocation and immigration are discussed in regards to modern-day notions about what it means to belong and how identities are shaped by experiences of trauma, dislocation and separation.

Available for download on Thursday, June 06, 2019

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