Transgressing Boundaries: Gender, Race, Religion, and ‘Francaises Musulmanes’ during the Algerian War of Independence


Vince, Natalya. 2010. “Transgressing Boundaries: Gender, Race, Religion, and ‘Francaises Musulmanes’ during the Algerian War of Independence.” French Historical Studies 33 (3): 445-74. doi:10.1215/00161071-2010-005.

Author: Natalya Vince


Taking the example of women active in the Algerian National Liberation Front during the War of Independence, this article examines how different typologies of “the Muslim woman” were challenged, subverted, and reconfigured between 1954 and 1962. The article looks at how women who did not conform to colonial gendered ethnoreligious stereotypes came to threaten the continuing existence of French Algeria both on the ground and on the international stage. It then turns to consider the sexual abuse and rape that women often experienced when captured by the French army. Finally, the article examines the relationship between women, Islamic principles, and the independence movement. Based on extensive interviews with female participants in the war, the article focuses throughout on women's appropriation and subversion of assigned roles and assumptions. A central concern is to compare the analytic categories of “gender” and “race” with the frames of reference these women use to articulate their own lives.

Topics: Armed Conflict, National Liberation Wars, Gender, Women, Race, Religion Regions: Africa, MENA, North Africa Countries: Algeria

Year: 2010

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