Cover of Monuments Decolonized by Susan Slyomovics
Monuments Decolonized
Algeria's French Colonial Heritage
Susan Slyomovics


July 2024
330 pages.
from $35.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503632899
Paperback ISBN: 9781503639485
Ebook ISBN: 9781503639492

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"Statuomania" overtook Algeria beginning in the nineteenth century as the French affinity for monuments placed thousands of war memorials across the French colony. But following Algeria's hard-fought independence in 1962, these monuments took on different meaning and some were "repatriated" to France, legally or clandestinely. Today, in both Algeria and France, people are moving and removing, vandalizing and preserving this contested, yet shared monumental heritage.

Susan Slyomovics follows the afterlives of French-built war memorials in Algeria and those taken to France. Drawing on extensive fieldwork in both countries and interviews with French and Algerian heritage actors and artists, she analyzes the colonial nostalgia, dissonant heritage, and ongoing decolonization and iconoclasm of these works of art. Monuments emerge here as objects with a soul, offering visual records of the colonized Algerian native, the European settler colonizer, and the contemporary efforts to engage with a dark colonial past. Richly illustrated with more than 100 color images, Monuments Decolonized offers a fresh aesthetic take on the increasingly global move to fell monuments that celebrate settler colonial histories.

About the author

Susan Slyomovics is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of four books, the most recent of which is How to Accept German Reparations (2014).

"This invaluable work unpacks the complexities of colonial and war monuments' signifiers, histories, and affects in Algeria and France. Monuments Decolonized is a groundbreaking textual and visual call for a 'transformative action.'"

—–Samia Henni, McGill University, author of Architecture of Counterrevolution

"Susan Slyomovics not only provides an innovative analysis of French colonialism and its aftermath in Algeria through memorials, but also complicates current debates on the future of colonial statues elsewhere, including the US. Monuments Decolonized is a mosaic of fascinating examples that coalesce into a big narrative, asking heady questions about heritage, patrimony, 'nostalgeria,' re-use, appropriation, and erasure."

—Zeynep Çelik, Columbia University, author of Empire, Architecture, and the City

"Monuments Decolonized assembles a magnificent array of ethnographic, visual, and historical materials tracing the deaths and afterlives of France's monuments erected in French-colonized Algeria. By studying these monuments' lives from their origins to the present, Susan Slyomovics has set a new and inspiring benchmark in settler-colonial studies and monument studies."

—Mia Fuller, University of California, Berkeley, author of Moderns Abroad: Architecture, Cities, and Italian Imperialism