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The Colonial Harem

1986
Author:

Malek Alloula
Translated by Myrna Godzich and Wlad Godzich
Introduction by Barbara Harlow

The Colonial Harem

A collection of picture postcards of Algerian women exploited by the French, this “album” illustrates a powerful analysis of the distorting, denigrating effects of their presence on Algerian Society.

A collection of picture postcards of Algerian women exploited by the French, this “album” illustrates a powerful analysis of the distorting, denigrating effects of their presence on Algerian Society.

Imprisoned by the photographer’s eye, these women reclaim their historicity through the pages of this powerful book. The Colonial Harem deserves a central place in the growing literature of decolonization.

Village Voice

A collection of picture postcards of Algerian women exploited by the French, this “album” illustrates a powerful analysis of the distorting, denigrating effects of their presence on Algerian Society.

The Colonial Harem

Malek Alloula, an Algerian writer now living in France, has published several volumes of poetry in French. Le harem colonial was first published in France in 1981.

Myrna Godzich is translator of two books forthcoming from Minnesota: Alan Touraine’s Return of the Actor and Predrag Matvejevitch’s The Poetics of the Event.

Wlad Godzich teaches comparative literature at the Universite de Montreal and at the University of Minnesota, where he is director of the Center for Humanistic Studies, and is co-editor, with Jochen Schulte-Sasse, of the series Theory and History of Literature.

The Colonial Harem

Imprisoned by the photographer’s eye, these women reclaim their historicity through the pages of this powerful book. The Colonial Harem deserves a central place in the growing literature of decolonization.

Village Voice

Alloula gathers up the impedimenta of empire in the form of (mainly) lewd French postcards of Algerian women which circulated between 1900 and 1930. By displaying and dissecting colonial pornography as an insider he brings into stark relief the violation of the patriarchal gaze at its harshest.

Women’s Review of Books

A shocking photographic excursion into the European fascination with the harem.

Whole Earth Review