Back at the end of April I gave a paper in Cardiff on “The Algerian War (1954-1962) and the francophone study of Late Antiquity: Patristics, resistance, decolonisation.” I did my PhD at Cardiff and it’s always fun to go back there.
The paper had a number of novelties for me. I spoke without notes, just working off a few prompts on the screen as I do when I’m teaching. This felt really good, especially about halfway through where you might expect to become a bit tired.
It was also the first time I’d pulled together different bits of this project for a sustained piece of argument. I was pretty happy with how it went, although the final section (“Decolonisation”) definitely needed more work. An outline of things was coming together, even if it lacked colour and shade.
A side note: in preparing this seminar, I was struck by the way that networks formed in the Resistance during the Second World War persisted informally into the Fourth and Fifth Republics. A portion of society had learned how to organise collectively and even if their actions after 1945 were not violent, they must have represented a periodic and formidable challenge to the governing regime.