“’What society refused you, books gave you’: Self-identification and French Education in the Written Works of Mouloud Feraoun, Yasmina Khadra, Mariama Bâ and Ken Bugul.”

Open Access
Durham, Brooke A
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Janina M Safran, Thesis Supervisor
  • Michael James Milligan, Honors Advisor
  • Jennifer Boittin, Faculty Reader
  • France
  • French Colonialism
  • Africa
  • Francophone literature
  • postcolonialism
  • history
  • Algeria
  • Senegal
This thesis examines the French language literature of two male Algerian authors, Mouloud Feraoun and Yasmina Khadra, and two Senegalese female authors, Mariama Bâ and Ken Bugul, to analyze how these authors and their characters self-identify in the colonial and postcolonial periods. All four authors received a French education during the colonial periods in Algeria and Senegal, and this thesis is interested in the role of education in the identity formation of these authors and their characters. It is especially relevant to analyze how these authors and their characters understand their identities in light of the differences between the French presence in Algeria and Senegal. The writings of Albert Memmi and Frantz Fanon serve as a frame for this study, and an examination of traditional relationships among women in rural Africa further contextualizes the Senegalese portion of this thesis. Each of these authors and their characters protest dichotomies of self-categorizing as exclusively French or “Other.” This research ultimately seeks to allow the authors and their characters to speak for themselves about their identities, and contributes to scholarship seeking to understand the psycho-social consequences of colonial rule and its remnants.