As the academic year comes to an end, colleagues across Modern Languages & Cultures are able to focus on their research activities. Over the summer, this blog will feature a series of colleagues undertaking their research, and today we focus on Dr Jonathan Lewis, University Teacher in French. Dr Lewis is currently writing a book on representations of the Algerian War in literary texts by French authors of Algerian origin.
More specifically, the book seeks to evaluate the extent to which such texts might constitute alternative ‘sites of memory’ with regard to the Algerian War, making up for the lack of commemoration of the Algerian War in France. The authors whose works Dr Lewis is analysing are largely representative of what is often termed the second generation of Algerian immigrants, born and brought up in France and holding French, rather than Algerian, nationality. Therefore, they reached adulthood often well after the official end of the war, and their memory of and relationship to the war remains distinct from that of their parents, who experienced colonial Algeria as French subjects and lived through the war as adults. Through their representations of the Algerian War, these authors collect diverse, apparently competing memories and, in doing so, present the full complexity of the memory of the war. In doing so, furthermore, they participate in destabilising and de-centring monolithic, unchanging, and exclusive conceptions of French literature, culture, and the French nation.
Luckily for me, Liverpool has an array of experts in my field, which has been immensely helpful in refining this project
The book is due to be published by University of Wales Press, and Dr Lewis is working to finish it over the summer with a view to submitting the manuscript by mid-September. The research for the book was conducted as part of his PhD, which he wrote, submitted, and defended at the University of Exeter. Since his move to the University of Liverpool, Dr Lewis has been working on preparing this PhD thesis for publication, which has involved updating and expanding his primary corpus of texts as well as the theoretical frameworks that he is using.