Dr Adrian Grima’s paper entitled “The Melting Pot that Never Was” has been published in an academic book in Oran, Algeria.
Dr. Adrian Grima originally read this paper on “The Absence of the Mediterranean” at an international conference on the theme of “Reciprocal images on two spaces: Africa and the West” / “Regards croisés sur deux espaces: l’Afrique et l’occident” that was held at the University of Oran in Algeria on May 4th and 5th, 2009, and organized by the Faculté des lettres, des langues et des arts. His paper was part of Atelier D held in Amphi Lakhdari which dealt with “Méditerranéité” and was moderated by Karen Vincent Jones (University of Sheffield, UK).
This is an excerpt from the paper:
The construction of the Mediterranean imaginary in colonized Algeria by the French colonial authorities is a good example of who has controlled this discourse, and why.
Official French colonial discourse about the relations between the various ethnic groups and accounts of colonial Algeria from the late nineteenth century to this day have used metaphor and the Mediterranean imaginary to tell another story. Algeria is described as a “melting pot” (creuset) in which the various European ethnicities “melted together” (se sont fondues), underwent “fusion” (la fusion) or “blended together” (se sont amalgamés). In 1906, the demographer Victor Demontès wrote about “a new people forming on the sunny shores of the Mediterranean,” and discussed the “mixing, or better yet fusion” of different European races in the “African melting pot” (creuset africain). A publication by Gignoux and Simiot that came out in 1961 described the popular Bab-el-Oued neighborhood of Algiers, where most working class European colonists in the city lived, including many Maltese, as “a miraculous melting pot at the bottom of which are slowly melted […] all of the ethnicities of the Mediterranean.”
A version of Dr Grima’s paper in this collection is available here on the website of the Department of Maltese in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Malta.