Therapeutic History and the Enduring Memories of Violence in Algeria and Morocco


  • Idriss Jebari Bowdoin College



Maghreb, Collective Memory, Therapeutic History, Transitional Justice, Authoritarianism


This article examines the experience of transitional justice and its relation to collective memory of authoritarian repression in Morocco (1965-1992) and the Civil War in Algeria (1991-2002). It confronts and compares to the two states’ therapeutic historical discourse produced to heal the national community after these periods of violence and its impact on the countries’ historians, journalists, filmmakers, and novelists from 2004 to 2017. The article argues that Algeria and Morocco’s rigorous definition of the “victim” during these two episodes (the imprisoned and disappeared) excluded the way communities suffered during this period and, as a result, has delayed healing, forgiveness, and national reconciliation. This article highlights the limits of two overpoliticized processes of transitional justice in the Maghreb and their limited conception of what it meant to “come to terms with the past.” However, it finds optimism in the ongoing efforts by new historiography and cultural actors to confront the lasting traumatic aftermaths outside of official definitions and on their own terms.


Idriss Jebari, Bowdoin College

is currently the Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Middle East History at Bowdoin College (2017-19). His research and publications deal with the social origins of critical thought and the politics of memory in the modern Maghreb.
He obtained a DPhil in Oriental Studies at the University of Oxford in 2016 with a dissertation on the lives and intellectual projects of Abdallah Laroui and Hichem Djaït. He held an ACSS Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in 2016-17 at the American University of Beirut (AUB) to study the dynamics of circulation and reception of intellectual debates between the Maghreb and the Mashriq.





Jebari, I. „Therapeutic History and the Enduring Memories of Violence in Algeria and Morocco“. Middle East - Topics & Arguments, Bd. 11, November 2018, S. 108-19, doi:10.17192/meta.2018.11.7808.