Past Event

The Resistance of the Jewels Against Colonial Geographies

February 14, 2024
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
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East Gallery, Maison Française, Buell Hall

Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, in conversation with Jill Jarvis and Emmanuelle Saada 

Upon the death of her father, a Jewish man originally from Oran, Algeria, who was naturalized as a French and then Israeli citizen, Ariella Azoulay discovers in a document that her grandmother’s name was Aïcha.  In this book she interweaves two genres– autobiography and political theory– rummaging through catalogues of jewels, found photographs, and collections of pillaged objects, and combines these fragments to tell her family’s history in parallel with the histories of French colonialism in Algeria and Zionism in Palestine.  She notes continuities, beginning with the obstinate efforts to destroy the secular entanglements of Jewish, Arab and Berber worlds, whose interlaced patterns she wishes to see restored.

Ariella Aïsha Azoulay is a writer, researcher, experimental filmmaker, and commissioner of anticolonial archives. Born in 1962 in Israel, Azoulay is a professor at Brown University where she teaches political theory, resistance to imperialism, and anticolonial imaginaries calling for return, restitution, and Tikkun Olam, repair of the world. The author of 10 books which have appeared in multiple languages, she published among other works Potential History: Unlearning Imperialism, and From Palestine to Israel: A Photographic Record of Destruction and State Formation, and La Résistance des bijoux.

Jill Jarvis is Assistant Professor of French at Yale University. Jill Jarvis specializes in the aesthetics and politics of North Africa. Her forthcoming book, Decolonizing Memory: Algeria and the Politics of Testimony, brings together close readings of fiction with analyses of juridical, theoretical, and activist texts to illuminate both the nature of violence and the stakes of literary study in a time of unfinished decolonization. 

Emmanuelle Saada is Professor of French and History and the Chair of the Department of French and the author of Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation and Citizenship in the French Colonies

This event is co-sponsored by the Columbia Maison Française and MESAAS.