Abstract

Frantz Fanon's pioneering essay 'L'Algérie se dévoile' is enriched by examining the particular situation of a few exceptional Algerian and French women prominent in Algeria during the War of Independence who are not the focus of Fanon's analysis, individuals like the FLN militant Zohra Drif and General Jacques Massu's wife, Suzanne Massu. They were quite unrepresentative of Algerian or French women in Algeria, but crucial figures in representations of activists in each group. Drif, a gifted student from the social elite, had, like Fanon, been exposed in French cultural institutions to a liberation at once proffered and denied. If there is little place for her experience in Fanon's essay, he does show what we can learn about the contemporary French mentalité from assessment of characters inspired by women like Drif in novels about the war. Examination of Suzanne Massu in turn suggests how bourgeois French women empowered in maternalist projects could work to try to impede Algerian women's embrace of national liberation, but not through the putative liberation of women Fanon addresses. The war unveiled a yet more complicated world of imagination and practices than we see in Fanon's essay.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1468-2931
Print ISSN
0016-1128
Pages
pp. 460-475
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-02
Open Access
No
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