Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationNew York, Graduate Center, City U. of
Grant numberGr. 9610
Approve DateApril 13, 2018
Project TitleLove, Stephanie V., City U. of New York, Graduate Center, New York, NY - To aid research on 'The Life of the Dead: Linguistic Infrastructure and the Signs of War in Post-Colonial Algeria,' supervised by Dr. Jillian Cavanaugh
STEPHANIE V. LOVE, then a graduate student at City University of New York, Graduate Center, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2018 to aid research on ‘The Life of the Dead: Linguistic Infrastructure and the Signs of War in Post-Colonial Algeria,’ supervised by Dr. Jillian Cavanaugh. Since independence in 1962, the material, political, and linguistic vestiges of the Revolution (1954-1962) continue to exert power over Algerian society, reflecting the enduring consequences of colonialism, war, and civil violence on postcolonial social formation. This twelve-month field research project investigated the remaking of postcolonial urban space and politics in Oran’Algeria’s second largest city’by asking: How do linguistic and material invocations and representations of the Revolution’s martyrs shape urban subjectivities and collectivities? How is the past inscribed onto or erased from the cityscape? How do Algerians make sense of these urban spaces? Using linguistic anthropological, ethnographic, and archival methods, this project examined the narratives of civil society actors, taxi drivers, students, urban protestors, and others, finding that everyday urban poetics ‘i.e., attention to the forms of placenames, graffiti, stories, metaphoric quips, and creative play with pronouns’have become repositories of alternative historical knowledge and creative contestation to power. For my interlocutors, the postcolonial state lost the political and moral authority to commemorate the dead and govern the country. Ordinary city-dwellers have developed an alternative repertoire of historical memory and contestation in which the colonial past is revivified to speak to the injustices of the postcolonial here-and-now.