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States of EmergencyColonialism, Literature and Law$
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Stephen Morton

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781846318498

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781846318498.001.0001

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Narratives of Torture and Trauma in Algeria's Colonial State of Exception

Narratives of Torture and Trauma in Algeria's Colonial State of Exception

(p.146) Chapter 5 Narratives of Torture and Trauma in Algeria's Colonial State of Exception
States of Emergency

Stephen Morton

Liverpool University Press

Chapter five considers how the colonial state of emergency in Algeria was framed and contested in a range of literary and legal texts. The chapter begins by considering the way in which the declaration of a state of emergency in Algeria in 1955 made possible the increasingly military character of French colonial policy in Algeria. After an analysis of the rhetoric of necessity that was used to justify the recourse to emergency powers, the chapter proceeds to analyse how the French colonial state of emergency is figured in French colonial narratives of the Algerian war. If these narratives try to create a heroic mythology that justifies the recourse to emergency powers, memoirs of the Algerian war such as Henri Alleg’s The Question (1958) and Louisette Ighilahriz’s Algérienne (2001) disclose the implications of emergency powers from the standpoint of the Algerian civilian population. By reading these narratives in conjunction with Assia Djebar’s novels of the Algerian war and Soleiman Adel Guémar’s Etat D’Urgence (2007) the chapter concludes by tracing the emergence of a subaltern history of the Algerian war and its aftermath in recent Algerian writing.

Keywords:   Algeria, emergency laws, colonial sovereignty, torture, Soleiman Adel Guémar, Assia Djebar

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