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Between autobiography and intimacy : an English monolingual's foray into Algeria
Conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (15th : 2010) (25 - 27 November 2010 : Melbourne)
Cole, Catherine; Freiman, Marcelle and Brien, Donna Lee. The Strange bedfellows or perfect partners papers : the refereed proceedings of the 15th conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs, 2010, p.1-8
Algeria has traditionally been the territory of Arabic and Francophone studies. The vast majority of texts about Algeria have been written in French or Arabic, only some of which have been translated into English. This reflects the history of its two most consequential, although radically different, colonizations, that of the Arabs in 680 AD and that of the French, 1830- 1962. On what grounds, if any, is it possible for Algeria, its history, its literature and its theorists to enter into the field of English literature? In this paper I argue that the act of producing an autobiographical memoir as part of a Creative PhD in a department of English provides a unique opportunity for ‘Algeria’ to enter into English studies. Through a discussion of Jacques Derrida’s proposition in Monolingualism of the Other; Prosthesis of Origin that we only ever speak one language, we never speak only one language, I argue that the languages of intimacy and autobiography enable even an English monolingual to write an Algeria in English, into English.