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Propaganda, nationalism, and feminism: Algerian women in the French-Algerian War

Petruso, Micheala (2020) Propaganda, nationalism, and feminism: Algerian women in the French-Algerian War. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The Algerian War of Independence (1954—1962), fought between the French colonial army and the nationalist Front de Libération Nationale (FLN), saw women participating in revolutionary activity on nearly all levels. That said, in the drive to mobilize the population, Algerian women became targets not only for wartime violence, but also directed propaganda campaigns from both major political players. The French colonial authority, on one hand, used media, visual propaganda, and social initiatives in order to promulgate the idea that the French colonial system was necessary in order to bring women into the arena of western-oriented progress. The FLN, on the other hand, utilized images of armed female militants, despite their minority in the overall female population, in order to promote a carefully controlled idea of ‘female warriors’ tied the breaking of gender confines with the needs of the nation. Neither narrative, however, accounts for the true diversity of experience for Algerian women, nor do they consist of analysis and consideration of the experiences of individual women. The collective struggle is substituted for the individual experience. This paper looks at the relationship between the presentation of narratives through literature, media, and personal accounts and how certain narratives can be used, or omitted, to reflect wider goals and ideals of the political apparatus. By taking the three-tiered approach of examining the women’s experiences as presented by women themselves as well as presented by the aforementioned political actors, I argue that specific narratives misrepresent and silence women’s experiences so as not to contradict the ideals and goals of larger political apparatuses.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Petruso, Michealamcp67@pitt.edumcp67
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairLotz,
Committee MemberAttia,
Committee MemberJouili,
Committee MemberRice,
Date: 2 December 2020
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 October 2020
Approval Date: 2 December 2020
Submission Date: 18 November 2020
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 131
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Algeria, women, French-Algerian War, Algerian women, EMSI, propaganda, discourse, fidayate, maquis, militants, female militants, colonialism, french colonialism, colonial empire
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2020 17:56
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2020 17:56


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