Walls of Algiers

Narratives of the City through Text and Image

Edited by Zeynep Celik, Julia Clancy-Smith, and Frances Terpak

  • $40.00s paperback (9780295988689) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2009
  • Subject Listing: Middle East Studies; Architecture
  • Bibliographic information: 288 pp., 90 color illus., 7 x 10 in.
  • Published with: Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles
  • Contents

Walls of Algiers examines the historical processes that transformed Ottoman Algiers, the "Bulwark of Islam," into "Alger la blanche," the colonial urban showpiece - and, after the outbreak of revolution in 1954 - counter-model of France's global empire. In this volume, the city of Algiers serves as a case study for the analysis of the proactive and reactive social, political, technical, and artistic forces that generate a city's form. Visual sources - prints, photographs, paintings, architectural drawings, urban designs, and film - are treated as primary evidence that complements and even challenges textual documents.

The contributors' wide-ranging but intersecting essays span the disciplines of art history, social and cultural history, urban studies, and film history. Walls of Algiers presents a multifaceted look at the social use of urban space in a North African city. Its contributors' innovative methodologies allow important insights into often overlooked aspects of life in a city whose name even today conjures up enchantment as well as incomprehensible violence.

Contributors include Julia Clancy-Smith, Omar Carlier, Frances Terpak, Zeynep Celik, Eric Breitbart, Isabelle Grangaud, and Patricia M. E. Lorcin.

"Walls of Algiers is cultural history at its best, a compelling interdisciplinary collection of essays on Algiers by leading scholars, analyzing the city's Ottoman and Colonial urban spaces, architectures, streets, and city planning as well as its imagery in art, film, and photography. Providing sparkling new accounts from a diversity of post-colonial perspectives, this timely and important book is indispensable for the study of empires and their legacies."
-Deborah Cherry, University of Amsterdam

"In this richly documented volume, the people, images, and places of the city of Algiers come alive. A group of outstanding scholars have been brought together to consider Ottoman, French colonial, and post-independence Algerian history through photography, popular culture, visual studies, religion, and language. Their scholarship reveals how the inhabitants actually live in Algiers, how social relations were and are conducted, what are the symbols of political authority and the boundaries of religious space, and how the city, then and now, is delineated through memory and identity."
-Susan Slyomovicseditor, author of The Living Medina in the Maghrib: The Walled Arab City in Literature, Architecture, and History

Note on Transliteration
Introduction / Zeynep Celik, Julia Clancy-Smith, and Frances Terpak

Part One Peoples
1. Eroticism, Erasures, and Absence: The Peopling of Algiers, 1830-1900 / Julia Clancy-Smith
2. Medina and Modernity: The Emergence of Muslim Civil Society in Algiers between the Two World Wars / Omar Carlier

Part Two Images
3. The Promise and Power of New Technologies: Nineteenth-Century Algiers / Frances Terpak
4. A Lingering Obsession: The Houses of Algiers in French Colonial Discourse / Zeynep Celik
5. The Invisible Prison: Representing Algiers on Film / Eric Breitbart

Part Three Places
6. Masking and Unmasking the Historic Quarters of Algiers: The Reassessment of an Archive / Isabelle Grangaud
7. Historic Intersections: The Center of Algiers / Zeynep Celik
Historiographies of Algiers: Critical Reflections / Patricia M. E. Lorcin

Selected Bibliography

"The collection does an excellent job of demonstrating the richness of visual and material sources for urban and colonial history and will provide a valuable resource to scholars."
-Victoria E. Thompson, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Vol. 31(1) 2011

"The picture of Algiers that emerges from the Walls of Algiers is one that fulfills the ambitions of its authors and the book and the different contributions that are made offer much to both the casual reader and the specialist. It is a fascinating collection that should be read by anyone interested in Algeria and the multivariate processes of Algeria's colonization."
-Reviews in History