Colonial TraumaA Study of the Psychic and Political Consequences of Colonial Oppression in Algeria
Colonial Trauma
A Study of the Psychic and Political Consequences of Colonial Oppression in Algeria

<i>Colonial Trauma</i> is a path-breaking account of the psychosocial effects of colonial domination. Following the work of Frantz Fanon, Lazali draws on historical materials as well as her own clinical experience as a psychoanalyst to shed new light on the ways in which the history of colonization leaves its traces on contemporary postcolonial selves.

Lazali found that many of her patients experienced difficulties that can only be explained as the effects of “colonial trauma” dating from the French colonization of Algeria and the postcolonial period. Many French feel weighed down by a colonial history that they are aware of but which they have not experienced directly. Many Algerians are traumatized by the way that the French colonial state imposed new names on people and the land, thereby severing the links with community, history, and genealogy and contributing to feelings of loss, abandonment, and injustice. Only by reconstructing this history and uncovering its consequences can we understand the impact of colonization and give individuals the tools to come to terms with their past.

By demonstrating the power of psychoanalysis to illuminate the subjective dimension of colonial domination, this book will be of great interest to anyone concerned with the long-term consequences of colonization and its aftermath.

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  • March 2021
  • 272 pages
  • 145 x 219 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $69.95
  • 9781509541027
  • Paperback $24.95
  • 9781509541034
  • Open eBook $56.00
  • 9781509541041
Table of Contents
Foreword – Mariana Wikinski
Introduction: The Trouble of Acknowledging Colonial Trauma
The History of French Colonization in Algeria: A Blank Space in Memory and Politics
A Much-Needed Interdisciplinary Approach

1. Psychoanalysis and Algerian Paradoxes
Disarray of the Private and Public Spheres
God’s Reinforcement of Failing Institutions
The Power of Religion and the Religion of Power
The Literary Text and the Invisible Staging of Power
The Power of the “Language, Religion and Politics”(LRP) Bloc as Revealed by Clinical Psychoanalysis
The Duplicity of Subjects Confronting Censorship from the LRP
Abandoned Citizenship and Speech Acts

2. Colonial Rupture
The Colony: The Rogue Child of the Enlightenment
Colonialism’s Destruction of Social Cohesion
A Colonial Republic Divided, or the “Duty to Civilize [the] Barbarians”
1945: A Literature of Refusal is Born
Nedjma: An Esthetic of Colonial Destruction?
Disrupting Genealogical Ties: The Effect of “Renaming” Algerians in the 1880s
Subjective Catastrophes and the Disappearance of the Father as Symbolic Reference
Writing against Anonymous Filiation
Jean El Mouhoub Amrouche: A Broken Voice

3. Colonialism Consumed by War
1945-1954: The Necessity of War
The Impossibility of Forgetting and Madness, a “Remedy” for Disappearance
Silencing the Unforgettable Mutilation of Bodies
Toulouse, 2012: The Return of Murder
Constructing the “Nation”
The Writer’s Pressing Need: Transform Disappearance into Absence

4. Colonialism’s Devastating Effects on Post-Independence Algeria
The Mutilated Body of the Colonized and the Hunger for Reparation
Colonial Hogra and a Frantic Quest for Legitimacy
The “Orphaning” Effect of Colonialism and its Impact
Further Distortion of Patronyms
Divested of a Name: A Form of Colonial Murder
Manufacturing Erasure and Denial under Colonialism
From Colonial Trauma to Social Trauma

5. Fratricide: The Dark Side of the Political Order
The Emergence of Algerian Nationalist Movements in the 1930s
The War of Liberation and an Impossible Fraternity
From Parricide to Fratricide
When the Murders between Brothers is Dismissed…
Calling on the Father
A Gap in Memory Sets Off an Endless Deadly Battle

6. The Internal War of the 90s
Reconsidering the LRP Bloc (language, religion and politics)
The Tyranny and Pleasure of Power
The Shift of 1988 and the Experience of Political Plurality
An Internal War of Unprecedented Violence
The Curse of Fratricide
The War Comes Home
A Strange Reversal in Naming
Do Freedom and Terror Go Hand in Hand?

7. State of Terror and State Terror
A Clinical Understanding of Terror
The Terrified Subject’s Self-Elimination
Psychological Terror is always Political
Reconciliation: State Terror?
When the State Tries to Make its Practice of Disappearance Disappear

8. Legitimacy, Fratricide and Power
Jugurtha: A Fratricidal Hero
Unpunished Crimes within the Republic
The Legitimacy the French Conquest Claimed for Itself
The Passion-filled Scene of Coloniality
The Specter of Discord: el Fitna

9. Getting Out of the Colonial Pact
After Liberation, the Indefatigable Reenactment of Coloniality within Subjectivities and the Political Order
Trauma as Shelter and Alibi
The Brutalization of the Living: the Disappearance of Children
The “Bone Seekers”: from the Child to the Fathers

Conclusion: Ending the Colonial Curse: Lessons from Fanon
The “Colonial Pact”: Erasure of Memory, Disappearance of Bodies, Dispossession of Existence
The Mystical Quality of the Colonized
For a Future Liberation


About the Author
Karima Lazali is a practising psychoanalyst and clinical psychologist
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“This book adds an important layer to the psychoanalytic understanding of colonial trauma and its afterlife. Beginning with her bilingual clinical practice in France and Algeria, Lazali addresses how patients differ in their response to the technologies of a ‘whiting out’ of an erased past. She takes up the mantle of Fanon to study intergenerational trauma and how it manifests itself in her patients, in Francophone literary texts, in the bellicose and violent struggles around religion, language, and politics, in concepts of the social, and in the relationship between individuated subjects and the group.”
Ranjana Khanna, Professor of Literature at Duke University
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