Date Thesis Awarded

5-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Modern Languages

Advisor

Michael Leruth

Committee Members

Deborah Lee-Ferrand

Jonathan Glasser

Abstract

The Harkis are Algerian soldiers who fought for the French Army during the Algerian War (1954-1962). Considered traitors in Algeria, thousands of Harkis were massacred following the end of the war.

Those who managed to escape the massacres were repatriated to France, where they were placed primarily in camps with inhumane living conditions. A Harki community managed to form in the camps, and the constrictive nature of the camps led to a push to bring Harki collective memory into the French public sphere.

After the Algerian War was legally recognized as a war in 1999, a "flame of memory" inspired the Harki community to make their memory even more public. Through books, museums, and memorials, Harki memory has become engrained into French society. Recent acts by French presidents in 2016 and 2018 have shown the government's regret for their treatment of the Harkis, yet these acts have been viewed as too little and too late by the Harki community.

The most intimate desire of many members of the Harki community is to have a rapprochement with Algeria, where they are still viewed as traitors by most everyone aside from their family members. With the political situation in Algeria in flux, the future of the Harkis in Algeria remains unclear.

This thesis conceives of three spheres through which Harki collective memory may be conceptualized: the family and community sphere, the French public sphere, and the Franco-Algerian and postcolonial sphere.

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