Co-winner, William A. Douglass Prize in Europeanist Anthropology
“[I]ntersects with very active areas of research in history and anthropology, and links these domains of inquiry spanning Europe and North Africa in a creative and innovative fashion.” —Douglas Holmes, Binghamton University
Maltese settlers in colonial Algeria had never lived in France, but as French citizens were abruptly “repatriated” there after Algerian independence in 1962. In France today, these pieds-noirs are often associated with “Mediterranean” qualities, the persisting tensions surrounding the French-Algerian War, and far-right, anti-immigrant politics. Through their social clubs, they have forged an identity in which Malta, not Algeria, is the unifying ancestral homeland. Andrea L. Smith uses history and ethnography to argue that scholars have failed to account for the effect of colonialism on Europe itself. She explores nostalgia and collective memory; the settlers’ liminal position in the colony as subalterns and colonists; and selective forgetting, in which Malta replaces Algeria, the “true” homeland, which is now inaccessible, fraught with guilt and contradiction. The study provides insight into race, ethnicity, and nationalism in Europe as well as cultural context for understanding political trends in contemporary France.