Algerian-French Author Azouz Begag to Give Lecture

May 20, 2004
By Sarah Maxwell

Writer and sociologist Azouz Begag will give a lecture titled “The French Model of Integration, Myth and Reality: Lessons from the American Experience” at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 20 in the Gould Library Athenaeum at Carleton College. A part of Carleton’s Christopher U. Light Lecture Series in the Arts and Literature, the event is free and open to the public.

Author Mohamed Meouak has written an article dividing the various linguistic registers seen in Begag’s novels into five categories of expression: those taken over from Algerian dialect, argot (slang), French expressions, expressions created by word-play and puns often involving both Arabic and French, French phrases pronounced in an Arabised manner, and Arabic words that have long since become incorporated into French. In such polyglossic negotiations within the texts of Begag and other Beure (young French of Algerian origin or heritage) writers, Meouak detects the preservation of what roots survive and the continual search for integration.

Of Algerian heritage, Begag was born in France in 1957. He has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Lyon. Since 1980, he has been a researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the House of Social and Human Sciences of Lyon, where he specializes in urban socio-economy and concentrates on the mobility of immigrant populations in urban areas.

Begag has published a score of award-winning books that deal with the challenges confronting maghrébine, young people of Algerian heritage and/or origin. Begag’s work looks at the relationships between two very different cultures as well as between tradition and modernism: poverty, racism, unemployment, self-destruction and despair. In the majority of his novels, whether autobiographical or not, Begag writes about the beurs and proposes positive models of identity.

For more information and disability accommodations, call the Carleton French department at (507) 646-4244.