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Between nostalgia and desire: l'Ecole d'Alger's transnational identifications and the case for a Mediterranean relation

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This article examines the transnational forms of cultural affiliation and Mediterranean margin-to-margin circuits of production with which l'Ecole d'Alger (here, Audisio and Camus) experimented in the 1930s, and highlights new theoretical perspectives appropriate to these practices. The authors' use of a mythicized Mediterranean as a unifying trope downplays national and religious differences to the benefit of a common utopian identity both cosmopolitan in nature and generative of a regional awareness which runs counter to dominant colonial segregationist discourses. Descendants of immigrants from throughout the Mediterranean, these writers occupy a unique positionality which enables them to open new spaces for identification and articulate anti-fascist stances as well as a limited critique of colonial practices. These writers' imaginative affiliations spell out a transnational position, which calls for regional areas of study to be considered autonomously. Attention to regional spaces would constructively displace analytical models where the theoretical existence of marginal spaces is but a by-product of their necessary relation to the metropole. The recognition of margin-to-margin relations leaves room for thories de la Relation in keeping with Glissant's paradigm, thereby showing how, in a global decentred paradigm, relational theories from the margins can provide viable alternative frameworks.
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Keywords: (post)colonialism; Albert Camus; Edouard Glissant; Gabriel Audisio; Mediterranean; globalization; history; postcolonial theory; relational theories; transnationalism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of California.

Publication date: 2007-11-15

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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