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I can see why Lazreg didn’t like this book. The women’s photos here are pornographic. Their bodies are objectified, their faces are in clear view and no attempt was made to conceal their identities. But the fact is that the French stripped Algerian women off, made them pose for the camera, and exchanged their photos –millions of them- among family and friends overseas. There is no way around that. Yes, reprinting these postcards will shock and disturb. But in order for humanity to move forward, ...more
Jan 12, 2010 Korri rated it really liked it
Malek Alloula is a poet & it shows; his work is full of hypnotic, dream-like word choices and imagery. This book challenges Orientalism & exoticism inherent in postcards & photographic representations of Muslim women in Algeria. The images allowed colonizers and their loved ones at home 'a right of (over)sight', lent themselves to voyeurism and were symbolic of dreams of possession & violence. Fascinating thesis.
By looking at the colonial images of Algerian women depicted in the postcards between 1890-1930, Malek Alloula shows how photography produces knowledge of "the other" through the lens of the "photographer-voyeur." Many photographs including some pornographic material are taken by military officers during the conquest and circulated publicly within colonial economy of passion and exoticism. Colonizers take many photographs of colonized people, categorize them and focus on particular body parts, s ...more
The Algerian poet Malek Alloula protests the colonial legacy of France by examining the staged postcards French photographers took of Algerian Muslim women. These postcards were quite clearly staged, not real, and usually depicted Algerian women in invasive and highly sexualized ways. Writing in the sometimes opaque and always philosophical style of deconstructionism, Alloula examines the fantasies of the Orient conveyed in these photos, but with the larger goal of protesting the injustices the ...more
The harem is one of the central icons of Orientalist mythology, standing in for exoticism, eroticism and oppression, amongst other tropes and motifs. It occupies key places in art and literature, and Europe’s vision of North African and the Middle East. In this excellent, lavishly illustrated analysis, Alloula explores images of the North African harem in colonial era, mainly French sourced, postcards – the kinds of things we send friends and family as typical images of the places we visit. It i ...more
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