Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


French Studies

Reader 1

Nathalie Rachlin

Reader 2

Dalton Krauss

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© 2016 Lily M Spang


This thesis examines the element of translation of language and cultural memory in the work of contemporary artist Zineb Sedira, whose documentary-style video and photography installations are informed by her complex identity and geographical history, as the French-born daughter of Algerian immigrants who is now based in London. This project analyzes two of her early works, Mother Tongue and Mother, Father and I, to show how the role of translation and mediation in the transmission of memory and the representation of marginalized histories can be used to challenge a unidimensional, reductionist conception of identity rooted in geographic singularity. Through the translation of the “irrepresentable” nature of uprooted identities, Sedira's work questions such assumptions that influence our relation to space, origin, and history, undermining a mentality of exclusion that that contributes to the marginalization of migrant identities.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.