Abstract

I situate this interview with Franco-Algerian author Leïla Sebbar regarding her 2003 fictionalized memoir Je ne parle pas la langue de mon pére (I Dont Speak My Fathers Language) as Sebbars response to the transition between colonial and postcolonial spaces of cultural identity. Whereas Bourdieus habitus locates passive cultural identities in a rigidly hermetic space, structured by dualisms that are reminiscent of colonial dominance, Bhabhas introduction of the postcolonial beyond re-animates these identities through resistance toand movement acrosstheir boundaries. Sebbar and I examine how the internal ruptures of her personal narrative empower her to travel both within and across the spaces of her childhoods colonial-era, habitus-like identities (French/Algerian, non-/Muslim, wo/man). To some extent, such dualisms retain definitional dominance today by providing the terms upon which resistance is founded. Yet Sebbars distinctive vision, her narration liberated from an anchored I or eye, exposes connections across her identities internal boundaries, yielding, in turn, unexpected correspondences between the split signs we call our selves.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-2044
Print ISSN
0034-5210
Pages
pp. 51-64
Launched on MUSE
2008-07-31
Open Access
No
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