Absent the ArchiveCultural Traces of a Massacre in Paris, 17 October 1961

Absent the ArchiveCultural Traces of a Massacre in Paris, 17 October 1961

Lia Brozgal

Print publication date: 2021

ISBN: 9781789622386

Publisher: Liverpool University Press

Abstract

Cultural Traces of a Massacre in Paris: The October 17, 1961 Anarchive is the first cultural history devoted to literary and visual representations of the police massacre of peaceful Algerian protesters. Covered up by the state and hidden from history, the events of October 17 have nonetheless never been fully erased. Indeed, as early as 1962, stories about the massacre began to find their way their way into novels, poetry, songs, film, visual art, and performance. This book is about these stories, the way they have been told, and their function as both documentary and aesthetic objects. Identified here for the first time as a corpus—an anarchive—the works in question produce knowledge about October 17 by narrativizing and contextualizing the massacre, registering its existence, its scale, and its erasure, while also providing access to the subjective experiences of violence and trauma. Cultural Traces of a Massacre is invested in exploring how literature and culture may “do history” differently by complicating it, whether by functioning as first responders and persistent witnesses; reverberating against reality but also speculating on what might have been; activating networks of signs and meaning; or by showing us things that otherwise cannot be seen. This book provokes important questions about the aesthetic, ethical, and political stakes of representation.