Dr Natalya Vince
Reader in North African and French Studies
The main focus of my research is modern and contemporary Algerian and French history, politics and society. I'm interested in decolonisation, post-colonial nation and state-building, oral history, memory and women's history in Algeria and France, and in Europe and the Global South more broadly.
In my work, I seek to challenge the familiar theme of seeing post-independence societies such as Algeria through the dichotomy of utopia or disillusionment. Instead, I explore how the belief that new things could be done every day, practical problems such as mass illiteracy, meteoric social mobility and authoritarian but not monolithic political systems intertwined and interacted. I examine the messiness of everyday experience in a world of new opportunities, fresh obstacles and old ways of doing things. I also engage with how memory works – socially and politically – in remembering decolonisation and the first decades of independence. Finally, I aim to go beyond the coloniser/colonised binary by locating the Franco-Algerian relationship within a broader international history and web of global connections.
I am committed to the co-creation of knowledge – research with not about the people whom I interview – and the necessity of making research results widely accessible to audiences outside of academia, in engaging and creative forms. One of the projects which I’m currently working on is on an open access, trilingual series of documentary shorts Generation Independence.
My research has been funded by the European Commission (Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellowship), the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Leverhulme Trust and the British Academy. Amongst my publications, The Algerian War, the Algerian Revolution was published in 2020 with Palgrave Macmillan, and Our Fighting Sisters: Nation, Memory and Gender in Algeria, 1954-2012 was published by Manchester University Press in 2015, winning the Women's History Network annual book prize in 2016.
I am passionate about mentoring and supporting early career researchers, and seek to do this through my post as Departmental Research Degrees Coordinator in the School of Area Studies, History, Politics and Literature, as well as being a mentor internationally for the American Institute of Maghribi Studies and – for a younger generation – mentoring for the Girls’ Network locally in Portsmouth.
- Francophone Africa
- Women's and Gender Studies