Department or Program

Comparative Literature

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Rachid Aadnani


Conflict in North Africa is often represented through a binary opposition between French and Arabic. Over the course of the almost 200 years since French colonization began in the region, these two languages have come to signify countless, contradictory elements of Algerian identity, history, and culture. This presentation will explore these language dynamics within the context of late 20th-century Algeria by analyzing two novels: So Vast the Prison by Assia Djebar and Memory in the Flesh by Ahlam Mosteghanemi. While each author wrote in a different language—Djebar in French and Mosteghanemi in Arabic—both manipulate narrative structure and style to explore representations of history, gender, national identity, and language in a postcolonial and feminist critique.