Our fighting sisters

Nation, memory and gender in Algeria, 1954–2012

By Natalya Vince

Our fighting sisters


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9107-0
  • Pages: 296
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £70.00
  • Published Date: May 2015
  • BIC Category: HISTORY / Modern / 21st Century, HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century, HISTORY / Africa / North, Humanities / Colonialism & imperialism, History, North Africa, General & world history, Colonialism & imperialism, African history, 20th century, c 1900 to c 1999


Between 1954 and 1962, Algerian women played a major role in the struggle to end French rule in one of the twentieth century's most violent wars of decolonisation. This is the first in-depth exploration of what happened to these women after independence in 1962. Based on new oral history interviews with women who participated in the war in a wide range of roles, from urban bombers to members of the rural guerrilla support network, it explores how female veterans viewed the post-independence state and its multiple discourses on 'the Algerian woman' in the fifty years following 1962. It also examines how these former combatants' memories of the anti-colonial conflict intertwine with, contradict or coexist alongside the state-sponsored narrative of the war constructed after independence. Making an original contribution to debates about gender, nationalism and memory, this book will appeal to students and scholars of history and politics.


'It is hard to underestimate either the value of this resource or the originality of the insights derived from it...Specialists in women's history and historical memory will find rich pickings throughout, and perhaps most of all in a searing final chapter, "Being remembered and forgotten" in which the post-colonial disappointments of nationalist activism and modernist idealism are laid bare.'
Martin C. Thomas, University of Exeter, H-Diplo May 2016

'...sophisticated and thought-provoking study...'
Allison Drew, University of York, Labour History Review, vol. 81, no. 1

'...a fascinating, worthwhile book on female war veterans' memory of their role in the war...'
Katharina Marlenehey, LMU Munich/ENS Paris, French History, (2016)

'Our Fighting Sisters is an extremely rich and well-documented monograph.'
Emmanuel Pierre Guittet, Explosive Politics

'This book is one of the first to take an interest in the place of women in discussions of the Algerian nation from the War [of Independence] to the 2000s. It is very exciting in a number of ways.'
Raphaëlle Branche, Vingtième Siècle: Revue d'histoire


Natalya Vince is Senior Lecturer in North African and French Studies at the University of Portsmouth



winner of the Women's History Network Book Prize


1. Nationalist genealogies
2. Heroines and victims, brothers and sisters
3. 1962: Continuities and discontinuities
4. Embodying the nation
5. From national construction to new battles
6. Being remembered and forgotten
Select bibliography

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