Unsuccessful alterity? The pursuit of otherness in Nina Bouraoui's autobiographical writing

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This article examines Nina Bouraoui's three autobiographical texts (Garon Manqu, 2000; Poupe Bella, 2004; Mes Mauvaises Penses, 2005), and the semi-autobiographical La Vie Heureuse (2002). It argues that despite an apparent desire to affirm and assert her alterity, Bouraoui frequently falls prey to the trappings of homogenous notions of sexual and cultural identity that she purports to subvert. By using two seminal texts which aim to expose and deconstruct such binary paradigms, Frantz Fanon's Peau Noire, Masques Blancs (1952) and Simone de Beauvoir's Le Deuxime Sexe (1949), the analysis suggests that in the first two of her autobiographical narratives Bouraoui often conforms to outmoded tropes of racial and sexual collusion with the norm and that, while initially appearing to carve out a new post-colonial identity, she frequently confirms existing stereotypes of racial and sexual otherness and/or inferiority complexes. The article then proposes that it is only in Mes Mauvaises Penses that Bouraoui begins to reclaim her sexual and cultural identity in the negotiation of a new alterity.

Keywords: Nina Bouraoui; alterity; cultural identity; embodiment; environment; identification; life narrative

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ijfs.12.1.37_1

Affiliations: University of Exeter.

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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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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