Realising Identity: The Process and the Product

By:
Dr Patricia D. Duffy
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For the displaced person, important questions are posed concerning identity and sense of place. In her autobiographical work Au pays de mes racines (1980), Marie Cardinal attempts to provide answers to her own dilemma. A pied-noir by birth, she was forced by the escalating violence of the Algerian War to quit the country of her roots in 1956 and move to France, a country whose language she spoke, but of whose culture she was largely ignorant. Needless to say, the involuntary nature of the shift from her native Algeria left her with a sense of cultural limbo which she struggled to address in her country of exile. Eventually, she returns, with very mixed emotions, twenty-four years later to confront the past, and find the self she left behind in a country from which she now feels estranged. Her discoveries are as surprising as they are life-changing and provide important insights into the issue of self-knowledge in an increasingly global environment.


Keywords: Culture, Exile, Identity
Stream: Ethnicity, Difference, Identity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr Patricia D. Duffy

Senior Lecturer, Department of Languages and Cultures
French Programme
P.O. Box 56, University of Otago

Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

I have taught at Otago University all my teaching career, beginning at assistant lecturer level. My PhD was completed in 1992 after several years of part-time study. It examined the life and work of Guinean writer Camara Laye. This has led to my preoccupation with writing from Africa, both North African and Sub-Saharan. Last year I taught an honours option featuring the work of Emmanuel Dongala (who was a distinguished visitor for six weeks at that time), Assia Djebar and Mariama Bâ. As for my language teaching, I specialise in beginners but have taught at all other levels.

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