Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Modern Languages and Literatures (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Ralph Heyndels

Second Committee Member

George Yudice

Third Committee Member

Aleksandra Perisic

Fourth Committee Member

Sika Dagbovie-Mullins

Fifth Committee Member

David Ikard


This dissertation draws on a wide range of U.S. and Francophone postcolonial theories and criticism, including that of Omi and Winant on Racial Formation, Julia Kristeva on abjection and Pascal Blanchard on the construction of the "indigène". My research aims at critically envisioning how the "racial formation" of the North African subject within the French colonial (and post/neo-colonial) realm was part of an ideological process of Arabness. This can be also conceived in a structural homology with the notion of Blackness in the U.S., and how this constructed racialization was transferred to and mediated by post-colonial Maghrebian literature. My dissertation will analyze primary texts by four authors from three different regions: France, North Africa and the U.S., and I have chosen to cover three distinct historical periods from the 50's to the 21st century. While I do not claim that the experience of African Americans and their interaction with the Maghrebian subject of the diaspora constitute a definite exploration of the cosmopolitan, globalized African subject, I am suggesting that the modalities of social and racial power distinctiveness in both France and the U.S. can actually allow for more complete understanding of how transatlantic movements on race during the 50's and 60's were, in fact, fundamentally shaped by the contributions of this same distinctiveness of the French treatment of Arabness in a similar way to Americans' handling of Blackness. In other words, I argue that abjection in French Arabness and American blackness have always resounded in the Black Atlantic discourse. The term "abjection" is used in this study as a socially and discursively constructed form of abjection associated with the habitation of a particular identity. In this context, the Arabness that I am referring to derives from the legacy of French colonization of Algeria, its construction of the Arab native, then the indigene, and finally the Muslim French. By exploring these different historical, geographical and literary contexts, this thesis offers a wide-reaching analysis of how the Maghrebian experience within the colonial and postcolonial context has participated in producing and negotiating cultural and racial meanings within a commodity form of Black Atlantic Studies. In "(Re) Mapping the Black Atlantic," my project builds on Gilroy's influential theory in three (3) ways: firstly by tracing the legacies of colonization in relation to interpersonal violence across the Atlantic; secondly by challenging and re-writing national narratives of the postcolonial Maghrebian nation and its emergence from the colonial prism; and finally by including the North African experience with French colonialism and neo-colonialism within the Black Atlantic purview.


Black Atlantic; Abject-Racial Formation; African-American Literature; Postcolonial Studies

Available for download on Wednesday, August 05, 2020