Walls of Algiers: Narratives of the City through Text and Image

By Julia Clancy-Smith & Zeynep Celik and Frances Terpak (editors)

University of Washington Press

April 2009


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.

ISBN: 9780295988689