Colonial Trauma: A Study of the Psychic and Political Consequences of Colonial Oppression in Algeria by Karima Lazali
Colonial Trauma is a path-breaking account of the psychosocial effects of colonial domination. Following the work of Frantz Fanon, Lazali draws on historical materials as well as her own clinical experience as a psychoanalyst to shed new light on the ways in which the history of colonization leaves its traces on contemporary postcolonial selves.
Lazali found that many of her patients experienced difficulties that can only be explained as the effects of “colonial trauma” dating from the French colonization of Algeria and the postcolonial period. Many French feel weighed down by a colonial history that they are aware of but which they have not experienced directly. Many Algerians are traumatized by the way that the French colonial state imposed new names on people and the land, thereby severing the links with community, history, and genealogy and contributing to feelings of loss, abandonment, and injustice. Only by reconstructing this history and uncovering its consequences can we understand the impact of colonization and give individuals the tools to come to terms with their past.
By demonstrating the power of psychoanalysis to illuminate the subjective dimension of colonial domination, this book will be of great interest to anyone concerned with the long-term consequences of colonization and its aftermath.