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Our Civilizing MissionThe Lessons of Colonial Education$
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Nicholas Harrison

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941763

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941763.001.0001

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French Lessons

French Lessons

Chapter:
(p.220) Chapter Five French Lessons
Source:
Our Civilizing Mission
Author(s):

Nicholas Harrison

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781786941763.003.0006

This chapter extends Chapter 4’s examination of the impact of colonial schooling on Assia Djebar, Mohammed Dib, Albert Memmi and other writers. It reflects on what went on inside the classroom, and speculates on what it was, even in a colonial education, that made it fruitful, at least in some respects, for some students. It begins by considering the dynamics – inadvertent and perverse from a colonial perspective – that sometimes made French schooling positively politicizing for colonized students, notably in relation to notions of nationalism, national identity and language politics. It then focuses on writers’ accounts of studying the French language and French literature, evidently a key part of the process, educational and psychological, that brought into being their ‘francophone’ works, which duly reflect back on their colonial/literary/educational experiences. In these ways the chapter explores how some of the children subjected to colonial schooling became some of its most astute critics, as well as its greatest success stories; and how French/colonial schooling helped shape the forms and fictions of self-reinvention for which many of the writers are known. [177]

Keywords:   French/colonial education, Assia Djebar, Mohammed Dib, Albert Memmi, nationalism & national identity, language politics, French/francophone literature, literary studies, literary experience

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