Middle East Studies

Symposium | Algeria, from Revolution to Independence: A Visual Inquiry

Algerian Revolution in images | Kouaci

Friday, October 28, 2022

10:00 a.m. - 5:45 p.m.

In-person and livestreamed 
Joukowsky Forum, Watson Institute

Free and open to the public

Symposium: "Algeria, from Revolution to Independence: A Visual Inquiry"

July 5, 2022, marked 60 years since Algeria's independence. This anniversary is most likely one of the last major celebrations of this history to take place with a significant number of witnesses and participants still present to tell their story of Algeria. This important milestone takes place within a tense yet galvanizing political context in Algeria, one that saw the Hirak movement succeed in toppling President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s regime (1999-2019). This anniversary is also inscribed within an unresolved history with lingering consequences in France and Algeria of the legacy of 130 years of brutal and discriminatory colonization. 

Thinking Algeria at 60: Images from a Revolution

The symposium will feature scholars, artists, and actors of this history in a multifaceted conversation on the instability and constant evolution of recent Algerian history and the way it is narrated. We think from and towards images, engaging with Algeria as a set of visual materials from the early days of the revolution to more recent events such as the Hirak protest movement. Scholars and artists are invited to explore questions related to or inspired by the exhibit. Thinking with, through, and against images allows us to unsettle the coercive and violent ways photography and visuality were used through the colonization of Algeria. We wish to reflect on the construction of modern Algeria through the tensions and potential avenues encapsulated in the terms “revolution,” “independence,” and “decolonization” through a visual conversation. 

Watch the Webcast Part 1 
Welcome and introductions with Nadje Al-Ali and Adel Ben Bella
Adel Ben Bella and Safia Kouaci in conversation
Djemaa Maazouzi - “Mohamed Kouaci et les temps de l’histoire: À des moments (photographiques) donnés”

Watch the Webcast Part 2 
Madeleine Dobie - “Images of Algeria, 1962-2022: the Stakes of Historical Comparison”

Watch the Webcast Part 3 
Adel Ben Bella and Meriem Merzouga in conversation
Ariella Aïsha Azoulay - “Celebrating Independence, Awaiting Decolonization​”
Rym Khene - “Revolution(s) in the Making: for a Potential History of Photography in Algeria”
Sophia Mo - “Three Women and a Critique of History as We Know It”
Mohamed Amer Meziane - “Towards a Philosophy of Uprising: Algeria as a Point of View on Decolonization”


Ariella Azoulay
Madeleine Dobie
Rym Khene
Safia Kouaci

Djemaa Maazouzi
Meriem Merzouga
Mohamed Amer Meziane
Sophia Mo


Center for Middle East Studies
Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Department of Modern Culture and Media
Black Visualities Initiative at the Cogut Institute for the Humanities
Department of French and Francophone Studies

Magic Lantern Cinema 
Centre National de la Cinématographie et de l'Audio-visuel (CNCA)

Visualizing Algeria, from Revolution to Independence: An Interview with curator Adel Ben Bella