13 SES 17, “When Are We Ever at Home?”: Nostalgia for the future, for Europe and elsewhere
In 1957, the French-Algerian writer Albert Camus wrote a collection of short stories entitled "Exile and the Kingdom", composed during the Algerian struggle for independence, which culminated in the displacement of around one-million pied-noirs and their ‘return’ to France. In this paper, I will explore the themes of exile and return, and how these can lead to an underlying anxiety of inclusion and exclusion. Camus’s writings are clearly influenced by his pied-noir status, and these short stories explore the identity of those who are, in Cassin’s terms, “never there, never at home.” Through considering two of these short stories, I will explore the themes of recognition and rootedness, which will lead to a further discussion around what belonging looks like, the connection between a ‘belonging-to-something’ and one’s identity, and what it means, in that case, to be simultaneously included and excluded. These themes are important in understanding what role education may play in relation to this, not only in recognising the identities of displaced people as ‘belonging-in-exile’, but in creating educational spaces in which such identities can be more fully represented and encountered.
Camus, A. (2006). Exile and the Kingdom. Trans. Cosmann, C. London: Penguin Modern Classics. (Originally published in 1957). Cassin, B. (2016) Nostalgia: When Are We Ever at Home? Trans. Brault, P-A. New York: Fordham University Press.
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