Priscilla Charrat

My research focuses on ways out of traumatic silence across generations in contemporary French and Francophone Algerian fiction. While the stakes representing trauma as a way of legitimizing one's identity have now become a public matter in France, the stakes of representing cross-community empathy remain crucially underdeveloped. It is therefore with this larger aim that my dissertation project "Documents et Cheminements: Tracing the Postmemory of the Second World War and the Algerian War of Independence" highlights mechanisms of empathy that break down the victim-perpetrator divide and bridge communities in ways that acknowledge their ethnic or religious specificity, while offering a way out of competitive memory across generations. I engage with representations of multifaceted, interconnected, constantly evolving identities, and their relation with memory as a way out of repetitive sociopolitical discussions. My project aims at opening up discussions about identity and cultural memory, beyond the sole assessment of sociological crises. Focusing on networks of empathy between victims, perpetrators, and their descendants, my analyses complement existing discussions of silence, oral transmission, and media as a way to privately transmit memory across generations. I foreground my concept of transcategorical postmemory to show how descendants of victims and perpetrators compete or come together both privately and publicly in their claim for historical recognition in works Leïla Sebbar, Catherine Lépront, Patrick Modiano, Boualem Sansal, Kamel Daoud, Pascal and Alexandre Jardin, Yamina Benguigui, and Jérôme Ruiller. This future-oriented perspective on historical trauma can yield dialogue with other historical and geographical contexts beyond the Second World War and the Algerian War of Independence.