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We Are Imazighen: The Development of Algerian Berber Identity in Twentieth-Century Literature and Culture

by Fazia Aïtel

“A unique account of the rise of the Berber cultural identity, in particular of the Kabyles of Algeria, in modern times. Luminaries such as Amrouche, Feraoun, Matoub, and Farès are impressively brought back to life.”—Abdourahman A. Waberi, author of Passage of Tears

To the world they are known as Berbers, but they prefer to call themselves Imazighen, or “free people.” This cultural identity is strongest in Algeria in the Kabylia region, where an Amazigh movement developed after WWII. Tracing the songs, oral traditions, and literature of the Kabyle people from the early 1930s through the end of the twentieth century, Fazia Aïtel shows how they have established and preserved their own culture over time. This book is useful for understanding other Amazigh movements in North Africa, where Amazigh language and culture is denied or dismissed in countries such as Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya.

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