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Fractured History, Divided Memories: Algeria and France Facing their Past
March 26, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm
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A virtual event jointly organized by the Columbia Maison Française, the Columbia Department of French and Romance Philology, and the Alliance Program
On January 20th 2021, French historian Benjamin Stora submitted his “Report on memory issues relating to colonization of Algeria and the Algerian War” to President Emmanuel Macron. The report, commissioned by the French President last July, aims to achieve a “reconciliation of memories” between France and Algeria and help the two countries come to terms with the violent legacy of colonization and an independence war that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. The report contains around 30 recommendations, including the creation of a “Memories and Truth” Commission, opening up archives on the thousands of civilians and soldiers who went missing during the war, increasing collaboration between both countries on historical studies, improving school curricula, and investigating French nuclear tests in Algeria. The report has been hotly debated in France and Algeria, particularly after President Macron ruled out issuing an official apology.
The New York Times published 2 articles on Report Aims at ‘Reconciling’ France and Algeria, Its Former Colony; and A Life Spent Remembering a War France Has Tried to Forget.
Benjamin Stora is professor of Maghreb History at the Institute of Oriental Civilizations and Languages (INALCO) in Paris and university Paris 13 – Villetaneuse. He is the founder of the Maghreb-Europe Institute, which he has been directing since 1991. He has published over twenty books, amongst which the most famous include a biography on Messali Hadj; a Biographic Dictionary on Algerian Militants; Gangrene and Oblivion, the Memory of the Algerian War; They Came From Algeria, Algerian Immigration in France (1912-1992); The History of Colonial Algeria 1830-1954; The History of Algeria Since Independence; The Last Generation of October; and The Three Exiles, Jews of Algeria, selected for the Renaudot Essay Prize, 2006.
Emmanuel Kattan is Director of the Alliance Program, a partnership between Columbia University, Paris 1 –Panthéon Sorbonne, Sciences Po, and École Polytechnique.