The Scene of the Crime, The Crime of the Seen
The introduction provides critical information on the history and stakes of the October 17 massacre, situating it within the context of the Algerian War for Independence and the French imperial project more generally. It is invested in tracing the evolution of the massacre’s representation in political, popular, and scholarly discourse, and in exploring the ways in which the massacre has been rendered both visible and invisible. Comparisons with Vichy (briefly) and with another episode of state violence (the 1962 police murder of protesters at the Charonne subway station) help to contextualize October 17’s ambivalent status in the French national narrative. Arguing that October 17 should be read as a signal event whose putative invisibility has been both metaphorical and a result of historical conjuncture, the introduction also lays out the book’s critical commitments, surveys the landscape of existing scholarship, and establishes the concept of the anarchive.
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