Women of Algiers in their Apartment: A Study of Community in Exile.
Ann, Laura K.
- Born in Algeria, of Arabic descent, but educated within the colonial French system, Assia Djebar was a writer whose texts focused on the female experience during and after Algerian independence. In her work, Djebar captures the lives of Algerian women and reveals their personal and emotional struggles, challenging colonial and nationalist narratives of what women’s lives should be. Examining short... read morestories written by Djebar both before and after Algerian independence, this thesis discusses themes of inner exile as a result of colonial and patriarchal oppression. Inner exile can be defined as the loss of community membership, such that one is banished from the homeland while remaining within one’s territorial borders. Inner exile can arise as subjects are prevented from full participation in their community, or when the society around them is altered and loses familiarity. This thesis demonstrates that, for Djebar’s Algerian women, exile manifests through isolation from greater society, second-class citizenship, and an exclusion from the national narrative. The thesis thus questions the possibility of a homeland for Algerian women, and exhibits the importance of feminine space in Djebar’s writing. Finally, the thesis analyzes Djebar’s use of women’s memory and oral tradition as a way of creating community within exile.read less