Contesting Views

The Visual Economy of France and Algeria

Edward Welch and Joseph McGonagle

- +

ISBN: 9781846318849

Publication: April 30, 2013

Series: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 27

In the USA? Buy the Hardback US edition
Fifty years after Algerian independence, the legacy of France's Algerian past, and the ongoing complexities of the Franco-Algerian relationship, remain a key preoccupation in both countries. A central role in shaping understanding of their shared past and present is played by visual culture. This study investigates how relations between France and Algeria have been represented and contested through visual means since the outbreak of the Algerian War in 1954. It probes the contours of colonial and postcolonial visual culture in both countries, highlighting the important roles played by still and moving images when Franco-Algerian relations are imagined. Analysing a wide range of images made on both sides of the Mediterranean – from colonial picture postcards of French Algeria to contemporary representations of postcolonial Algiers – this new book is the first to trace the circulation of, and connections between, a diverse range of images and media within this field of visual culture. It shows how the visual representation of Franco-Algerian links informs our understanding both of the lived experience of postcoloniality within Europe and the Maghreb, and of wider contemporary geopolitics.

Edward Welch is Senior Lecturer in French at Durham University.

Joseph McGonagle is Lecturer in Cultural Studies in the French-speaking World at The University of Manchester.

List of Illustrations Acknowledgements Introduction: Visualising the Franco-Algerian Relationship Part One. Algerian Pasts in the French Public Sphere 1. Wish We Were There: Nostalgic (Re)visions of France’s Algerian Past 2. Visions of History: Looking Back at the Algerian War 3. Out of the Shadows: The Visual Career of 17 October 1961 Part Two. Mapping Franco-Algerian Borders in Contemporary Visual Culture 4. War Child: Memory, Childhood and Algerian Pasts in Recent French Film 5. Bridging the Gap: Representations of the Mediterranean Sea 6. A Sense of Place: Envisioning Post-Colonial Space in France and Algeria Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index

Contesting Views is a meticulously researched work, brimming with relevant references to a range of secondary literature on Franco-Algerian relations, and one which also demonstrates a welcome gendered awareness of female invisibility in many of the images discussed. This insightful and wide-ranging study recognizes the significant and, until now, underrepresented role played by the visual in informing pre- and post-colonial views of Franco-Algerian relations, and will thus appeal to both general and specialist readers with an interest in such relations, and in visual culture as a whole.
Siobhan McIlvanney, Bulletin of Francophone Postcolonial Studies


This book is very successful in putting together and analyzing a rich and diverse portfolio of images that have circulated (or not) between France and Algeria over the course of Franco-Algerian history. It breaks new ground in that it pays close attention to visual representations outside of film and interrogates the power or usefulness of photographs in refining – or derailing? – historical narratives.
  Contemporary French Civilization, Vol. 39, No. 3

This is an important and profoundly interesting book. It is timely in every sense ... this book’s achievements is that its joint authorship finds expression in a seamless clarity of writing, intelligence and insight.
  Journal of European Studies, 44

This timely volume will be most useful to scholars and students in these areas, but will also appeal to those with an interest in the history of the Franco-Algerian relationship and its ongoing intricacies fifty years after decolonization.
  French Studies, Vol. 68, no 2

Contesting Views is an incisive and timely analysis of visual culture and its role in the mediation of Franco-Algerian relations, and makes a convincing case for the importance of visual image and visual forms in considering the postcoloniality of both France and Algeria.
James House  
University of Leeds

Format: Hardback

Size: 239 x 163 mm

224 Pages

ISBN: 9781846318849

Publication: April 30, 2013

Series: Contemporary French and Francophone Cultures 27

Related products

Scroll to top