Theses Doctoral

The Battles of Algiers: Popular Politics of the Algerian Revolution

Sariahmed-Belhadj, Nadia

This dissertation examines the popular politics of the anticolonial struggle in Algiers from the perspective of people who participated in the Algerian Revolution at a grassroots level. It is largely the product of interviews conducted with 30 women and men who participated in the revolution in and around Algiers. Their participation in the struggle took diverse forms, including armed combat, material or logistical support to those fighting, participating in strikes or protests, and so on. In examining Algerians' anticolonial struggle 'from below,' I have sought to illuminate different and more plural perspectives of this period of history. In presenting this new material, I put forward a number of critiques on the existing historiography of the Algerian Revolution. My goal has been not only to include those who have been excluded from larger narratives in order to fold them into the political history of the revolution, but to demonstrate how these perspectives challenge those narratives. Finally, I have taken the experiences and perspectives of these Algerians to be a legitimate and productive vantage point from which to reflect on larger theoretical questions of popular politics and revolutions in the colonized world. These include questions about revolution, the diverse political imaginaries of what constitutes liberation and freedom, the means that can justly be used to attain such ends, the blurry lines between resistance and collaboration, the relationship between avant-garde parties and the masses that lend them support, and the different iterations of Islamic politics in modernity.

Geographic Areas


This item is currently under embargo. It will be available starting 2025-06-10.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies
Thesis Advisors
Mamdani, Mahmood
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
July 28, 2020