Nedjma de Kateb Yacine

Nedjma de Kateb Yacine: À la recherche de la Marianne Algérienne

Le roman Nedjma relate les tribulations de quatre jeunes hommes algériens obnubilés et fascinés par une femme algérienne et « méditerranéenne » (Kateb 78) à la beauté indomptable, née d’une mère française mystérieuse. Cette femme, Nedjma, aurait été inspirée par la propre cousine de Kateb, mariée à un autre (Boussaha 262). Écrite en français mais « profondément arabe, […] Nedjma porte témoignage d’un peuple » (Nedjma, notes des éditeurs, 5-6). Publié au début de la révolution, l’auteur fait le lien avec les évènements considérés comme la genèse du mouvement indépendantiste (Morgan 17) : les manifestations de mai 1945 en Algérie au cours desquelles la répression du pouvoir colonial français fut violente. Nous reviendrons sur cet épisode de l’Histoire de l’Algérie française au cours de l’analyse de Nedjma afin de mieux comprendre comment ce contexte interagit avec les histoires plurielles en jeu. Kateb lui-même est intimement lié aux drames et passions qu’il narre : « Il a souffert pour sa mère devenue folle à la suite de son arrestation et torture par les forces de la répression colonial » (Boussaha 262).

Corpus:

  • Kateb, Yacine, Nedjma, Paris : éditions du Seuil, 1956.

Active participation & attendance

The quality of this course depends on your interaction with the films and with the rest of the class. You will be expected to have comments to make and to react to other students’ arguments and opinions during every session. Our discussions and debates will be central to this course—lectures and theory will not be the main focus.

For each week, you are required to watch the primary film. A secondary film is suggested to go deeper in the topic, but you don’t have to watch it unless you are presenting that week. An additional essay or interview is linked for each theme: make sure you come into class having read/watched it.

In class, you must be attentive and responsive, and collaborate in a lively way. Participation in French is required. If you have ideas in English and you’re not sure how to formulate them, I will be there to help. Do use this class as an opportunity to better your French fluency, but don’t be afraid to bring in some English concepts when appropriate.

  • Habitual lateness, or arriving to class more than 15 minutes late will be considered an absence and deduct 1 point from your participation and attendance grade (20 points).
  • Use of technology for purposes unrelated to the course will also make you count as “absent” and deduct 1 point.
  • You will get 2 free absences throughout the semester (no doctor’s note needed). Save these for when you are actually sick. Starting with your 3th absence, 1 point will be deducted from your grade.

I will assess your engagement and attentiveness globally, but make sure you raise your hand and speak out at least once per class. Your individual perspective is what makes this course enriching for everyone!

Week 14: Comédie et choc des cultures

Primary film to watch: Astérix & Obélix: mission Cléopatre (2002)

Where to find: TBA.

Points to focus on:

  • Cultural appropriation and cultural insensitivity: Could a comedy like this be made in the US?
  • Is humor providing more understanding between cultures, or is the Astérix series reinforcing the “Nos ancêtres les Gaulois” paradigm?

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Secondary film to watch: OSS 117: le Caire, nid d’espions (2006)

Where to find: Kanopy.

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Video essay to have watched by Tuesday: “How to Do Visual Comedy”

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Astérix & Obélix: mission Cléopatre trailer

 

OSS 117: le Caire, nid d’espions trailer

Week 12: La Nouvelle Vague

Primary film to watch: Pierrot le fou (1965)

Where to find: TBA.

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Points to focus on:

  • The representation of the Vietnamese woman through “theater” in the film
  • The presence and mentions of several other nationalities (Lebanese; American; Russian; Italian; Algerian; Cuban; Israeli, etc. – Anna Karina is Danish)

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Video essay to have watched by Tuesday: “Breaking the Rules – The French New Wave”

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NO CLASS ON THURSDAY: OFFICE HOURS DAY INSTEAD. Come talk with me in my office about your final projects during class time.

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Pierrot le fou trailer