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Mershon Center Speaker Series
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Raphaëlle Branche
"Ending the French-Algerian war? Amnesty laws and the tensions of memory in France, from 1962"
Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 03:30pm - 05:00pm
Mershon Center for International Security Studies
1501 Neil Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43201

Raphaelle Branche

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Professor of modern and contemporary history at the University of Rouen, Raphaëlle Branche has been extensively working on colonial violence, focusing on French Algeria.

In her work, she examines the issues of illegal violence such as rape, torture, summary executions mainly from the point of view of the perpetrators. She has also addressed more specifically the issue of prisoners during the French-Algerian war (1954-1962) and acts of violence committed by the Algerian civilians and combatants during the war of independence as well as during the 1871 uprising.

Her current research is studying the French soldiers’ narratives on their war experience and the impact of these narratives on their families.


The Algerian War (1954-1962) was not considered a war by the French State before 1999. During the war itself, French forces refused to apply the laws of war. War crimes such as summary executions and torture were perpetrated on a daily basis. Within the wider frame of a war of independence opposing French forces and Algerian nationalist forces, the Algerian War had also many internecine aspects on both sides. The war ended in 1962 with a ceasefire and the proclamation of the independence of Algeria. Yet violence was not over since terrorism continued for a few years in France. Several amnesty laws were passed in the 1960s to quell the resurgence of violent memories. This presentation will question the efficiency of these laws.


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