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Lalla Fatma N’Soumer (1830–1863): Spirituality, Resistance and Womanly Leadership in Colonial Algeria

Independent Researcher, 93200 Saint-Denis, France
Societies 2018, 8(4), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040126
Received: 18 October 2018 / Revised: 6 December 2018 / Accepted: 6 December 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Women in Islam)
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Abstract

Lalla Fatma N’Soumer (1830–1863) is one of the major heroines of Algerian resistance to the French colonial enterprise in the region of Kabylia. Her life and personality have been surrounded by myths and mysteries. Although her name is mentioned in colonial chronicles recording the conquest of Algeria, her exact role in leading a movement of local resistance to the French army doesn’t seem to be very clear. This paper aims at shedding light on this exceptional Berber woman through the analysis of French colonial sources describing these military campaigns—despite their obvious bias—and later secondary sources. This paper focuses on the spiritual dimension which has been somehow overlooked in the existing literature. It precisely describes her family background whereby her ancestry goes back to a marabout lineage affiliated with the Raḥmāniyya sufi order. It argues that her level of education in spiritual and religious matters was probably higher than what had been so far assumed. This article discusses how this spiritual aspect helps explain the tremendous popularity she enjoyed among her people in Kabylia, where she has been considered almost a saint. View Full-Text
Keywords: Algeria; Kabylia; Berbers; French colonialism; resistance; feminine leadership; Raḥmāniyya order; sufism; marabouts Algeria; Kabylia; Berbers; French colonialism; resistance; feminine leadership; Raḥmāniyya order; sufism; marabouts
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Touati, S. Lalla Fatma N’Soumer (1830–1863): Spirituality, Resistance and Womanly Leadership in Colonial Algeria. Societies 2018, 8, 126.

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