The novels and essays of Judeo-Tunisian writer and thinker Albert Memmi are often understood to be deeply autobiographical and, indeed, much prevailing criticism of Memmi (and his Maghrebi contemporaries) remains invested in questions of authenticity, verisimilitude, and authorial identity. In this talk, Brozgal shifts the focus from the author to theoretical questions by setting Memmi’s work in dialogue with several major critical shifts in the late twentieth-century literary and cultural landscape. Showing how Memmi’s novels and essays produce theories that resonate both within and beyond their original contexts allows works of francophone Maghrebi literature to be read as complex literary objects, rather than as ethnographic curios.
About the Speaker: LIA BROZGAL is Assistant Professor of French and Francophone Studies at UCLA. She is currently working on a book project about literary and visual representations of the October 17, 1961 massacre of Algerian protesters in Paris. In addition to a broad interest in Francophone Maghrebi literature and cinema, other areas of specialization include beur novels, Tunisian chronicles of Nazi occupation, Judeo-Maghrebi cultural productions. Her first monograph, Against Autobiography: Albert Memmi and the Production of Theory (University of Nebraska Press) is now available.