Mediterranean Nomadism and Melancholia in Malika Mokeddem’s N’zid
Taking as a starting point Ranjana Khanna’s political concept of melancholic remembrance as the choice avenue towards a more democratic Algeria, this chapter offers a critique of dominant readings of Mokeddem’s transnational framework in light of Deleuzian deterritorialization. It argues that the fluctuations of her novel N’Zid’s “post-traumatic” allegorical mode of expression (Ross Chambers) tear the seemingly clear-cut opposition between rooted and nomadic subjects. In turn, they reveal more complex forms of identity which, if they do not sacrifice the singular in the name of the collective, do not sacrifice the collective in the name of the singular. Both exceeding the nation and actively laying claim to it, this model of mobility elaborates a Mediterranean framework of social interactions intent on reclaiming and preserving the diversity of the Algerian collective in a melancholic mode. The chapter demonstrates how this empowered form of singularity navigates the meanders of collective and individual memory to undo many years of forced oblivion. A remodeling of Mokeddem’s Deleuzian desert nomadism, her Mediterranean trope emerges as a strategic transnational channel of opposition to narrow definitions of collective identity and spawns a new social compact in the wake of the Algerian Black Decade.
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