Reading and Writing North Africa

Submitting Institution

University of London Institute in Paris

Unit of Assessment

Modern Languages and Linguistics

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Language, Communication and Culture: Cultural Studies, Literary Studies
History and Archaeology: Historical Studies

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Summary of the impact

Since 2006 ULIP has adopted the strategy of examining French and Spanish North Africa as an object of study. The rationale for this is to use ULIP's physical location in Paris as a bridgehead for researchers in North Africa and Europe. ULIP has recently recruited staff with the appropriate research profiles. These staff members have already been involved in public debates organized by ULIP in North Africa and the aim is to develop a generation of researchers who can move ULIP's strategy in this field forward.

Andrew Hussey's research has focused since 2002 on the relation between France, Spain and North Africa. As an essayist, broadcaster and public speaker, Hussey has communicated this research far beyond academic audiences to reach a general public in Europe and North Africa. His work has made a major contribution to debates about the cultural and political history of North Africa. A significant dimension to such impact has been its influence on the broadcast and print media in France, the UK and North Africa.

Underpinning research

The underpinning research is Hussey's body of work on the relationship between France, North African and Anglo-American Literature, which he conducted at University of Aberystwyth (2000-2006) and as Dean of ULIP (2006-). A key starting-point was the year which Hussey spent as British Council Writer-in-Residence in Morocco in 2003. Since then his research has been particularly focused on the use of Creative Writing in French and English as a tool for reading and analysing cultural histories.

The principal engine for this research was the Médi-Café, The Trans-Maghreb Creative Writing Forum. This was funded by the British Council from 2007-2009 to 152K sterling. It brought together participants from the UK, Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. Events were held in Paris, Tunis, Rabat, Marrakech and Algiers. See link: <>

Hussey has co-edited two books and finished a single authored monograph for publication in the UK and US in 2014. Both of these works are informed by this primary research. The first book, Voix de Tanger edited with Professor Khalid Amine, was published in 2007. It offers a comprehensive overview of the literary landscape of Tangier in French, Spanish, English and Arabic. The second book, Tanger Scénique, argued for the primacy of the visual arts in the culture of Tangier.

The third book, The French Intifada is a mixed-genre work of travelogue, history and reportage, which tests competing ideas of `Frenchness' against French colonial violence in France and North Africa. Hussey has also published articles on these themes in peer-reviewed academic articles. It is currently being discussed as a potential series for BBC2 Television and will be launched with a public event at Chatham House in March 2014.

Between 2004 and 2009, Hussey organized an annual conference in Tangier with Professor Khalid Amine on aspects of North African Culture. During this period he was also Visiting Professor at Abdelmaalik Essadi University (Tangier-Tetouan).

Hussey has published numerous influential essays on his research during the period. Since 2008 he has published five essays in The Guardian, The Observer, The Financial Times and the New Statesman investigating the link between France and North Africa. A special edition of the journal Francosphères (Liverpool University Press) was dedicated to Morocco and launched on 16.9.13 at a public event in Rabat with Professors Wail Benjelloun of Rabat and Charles Forsdick of Liverpool University. See link: <>

To take this research into a wider public forum, ULIP has recently established SENAR: the Centre for the Study of European and North African Relations, in partnership with Université Université Mohammed V Agdal, Rabat. SENAR is intended as a think-tank not just for academics but also for practitioners of media, law, and governance from across the region. See link: <>

References to the research

(i) Co-edited books (with Professor Khalid Amine)
Voix de Tanger (ICPS, 2006)
Tanger Scénique (ICPS, 2007)

(ii) Essays:
`The Exile of Tangier, An Interview with Mohamed Choukri', Planet 161, 101, 2008, pp. 38-44
`Tanger, ville des fanstasmes ?', Bil Bo K, 2009, pp. 176-186
`Why French Algerians....', The Observer, November 22, 2009

Details of the impact

Hussey's research into the interrelations between French and North African culture has been disseminated through books, newspapers, radio and magazines, leading to enhanced public awareness of and engagement with issues of historical and political context. Throughout his academic career, Hussey has been committed to communicating his work beyond an academic audience, not just in the UK but internationally.

The reach of Hussey's impact is evidenced by a series of BBC Radio documentaries based on this research. They are:

Queer Tangier (Broadcast, BBC Radio 4, August 30th 2013) — a documentary on the history of American and European avant-gardists in Tangier.

Morocco, Maliki and Me (Broadcast, BBC World Service, September 15th, 2013)

Albert Camus, Inside the Outsider (Broadcast, BBC Radio 3, November 13th, 2013)

The BBC estimates an audience of c. 1.5 million for the Radio 3 and Radio 4 of these programs. 10 million is estimated for the BBC World Service. The documentary on Albert Camus is the centerpiece of BBC Radio 3's centenary for Camus, and includes interviews by Hussey with Catherine Camus, Jean Daniel, Olivier Todd, David Walker, Geoff Dyer. Hussey talked about the documentary on Camus at the Cheltenham Literary Festival on October 8th 2013.

Catherine Camus wrote to ULIP and described the BBC Radio 3 programme as `excellent' and `worthy of her father' (19/11/13).

Sources to corroborate the impact

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