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Lia Brozgal on « Non-lieux » de mémoire: Cartographies of State Terror (Paris 1961)

Venue: Pigott Hall (Building 260), Room 252.

For questions, please contact the conference organizers, Michaela Hulstyn (, Fatoumata Seck ( and Marie-Pierre Ulloa (

Hosts: This series is sponsored by the Stanford Initiative for Religious and Ethnic Understanding and Coexistence, supported by the President's Fund, CCSRE, Religious Studies, and the Taube Center for Jewish Studies, and co-sponsored by the DLCL, the Center for African Studies, French and Italian, History, Comparative Literature, and the Stanford Forum for African Studies.

Speaker: Lia Brozgal, Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies at UCLA.

Abstract: On October 17, 1961, Algerian protesters were killed by police in the streets of Paris. Today, in the capital and its suburbs, only a handful of discreetly placed memorial plaques testify to this dark episode of Franco-Algerian history. That cities bear physical traces of their history is a commonplace; we have only to think of Benjamin’s “double ground,” or Olivier Mognin’s “ville-palimpseste.” However, given October 17’s material invisibility and its status in public discourse as an “événement occulté,” the work of inscribing the traces of this “state-sponsored terror” has taken place almost exclusively in the realm of representation. Reading key moments of “cartography” and “memorialization” in cultural productions devoted to October 17 (novels and film), this talk engages the representation of an episode of historical trauma that has failed to find purchase in the urban environments that witnessed it. How can we read signs that have been erased, or that never existed? How do works of fiction map rogue memories and monuments onto existing cartographies?