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Revolutions, socialism and Islamism in North Africa. Algeria beyond the War (1962-present)

Revolutions, socialism and Islamism in North Africa. Algeria beyond the War (1962-present)

Malika RAHAL


The main language of the course is English. The bibliography is mostly in English with also a few (additional) readings in French. Given the dearth of sources about the post-independence, some sources in French may be used, but we will work around them for those who are not fluent in French.


During the “Arab springs”, Algeria gave the impression of remaining impervious to regional dynamics. Algerians however claimed they recognized in the Tunisian and Egyptian revolts, democratization, rise of Islamism, and later threat of the return of dictatorship, their own experiences. An outlier to current event in the Maghreb, and perhaps a precursor, Algeria is an excellent case study for students to acquire a deeper historical understanding of the region. Based on texts, images, and film sources, and with constant comparison to other Maghribi countries, this course will lead us from the enthusiasm of independence in 1962, Thirdworldism, and socialist utopia to the collapse of the Eastern Bloc, the rise of Djihadi Islam and the first of its kind civil war between the army and the armed Islamists in the 1990s, and its aftermath.


  • For a historical overview broader than the course but necessary: Stora, Benjamin, 1950-. Algeria, 1830-2000: A Short History. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001.
  • For an analytical approach: Rahal, Malika. “Fused Together and Torn Apart: Stories and Violence in Contemporary Algeria.” History & Memory 24, no. 1 (2012): 118–51 (available here : https://www.academia.edu/1470231/Fused_Together_and_Torn_Apart_Stories_a...)
  • About Third Worldism and Algeria as a model: Malley, Robert. The Call from Algeria: Third Worldism, Revelation, and the Turn to Islam. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996. (chapters 4-5-6)
  • Overview of Algerian history post-1988: Phillips, John, and Martin Evans. Algeria: Anger of the Dispossessed. Yale University Press, 2007 (beginning with Chap. 3. Previous chapters go over pre-1962 history and can also be useful according to your needs/interests.


  • Film: William Klein, Panaf 1969 (documentary film)
  • Film: Merzak Allouache, Le repenti (et-tâ'ib), 2012 (available here with French subtitles: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjsFY2kFT00)
  • Film: Lyes Salem, L'Oranais (el-Wahrani), Oct. 2014 (currently in theaters in Paris.)
  • Litterature: Novels by Yasmina Khadra are available in French or English, you may also read Kamel Daoud's short stories (Le Minotaure 504) in French.
  • Social networks: On Twitter, for info about contemporary Algeria, follow: @daoud_kamel, @HuffPostMaghreb, @LeilaBeratto (in French), @themoornextdoor, @tweetsintheM, @HananeBintBanan, @adamshatz (in English, focused on North Africa more broadly), @RahalMal.
  • Blogs: Textures of Time: http://texturesdutemps.hypotheses.org/ (in French, English and Arabic) about writing contemporary history of Algeria. Ed McAllister's series “Algeria's Belle Époque”, in English, is very good, and Natalya Vince also writes in English.