Tropiques Nostalgiques

Fatal Homesickness in French Algeria

in Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques
Thomas Dodman

Search for other papers by Thomas Dodman in
Current site
Google Scholar
Restricted access

People once died of nostalgia. This article traces the remarkable trajectory of “la nostalgie africaine” from its original understanding as a clinical form of homesickness to the wistful, but wholly benign, feeling we are familiar with today. It does so by looking at French attempts at colonizing Algeria in the nineteenth century against the backdrop of changing medico-scientific theories of human acclimatization to warm climates. I argue that the latter provoked a positive reevaluation of homesickness and led to the development of a “nostalgic simulacra”: a replica French environment capable of sustaining the sepia-tainted illusion of an “Algérie française.”

  • Collapse
  • Expand


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 204 110 3
Full Text Views 14 3 1
PDF Downloads 19 6 1