Isla Paterson wins the Algerian Studies Master’s Dissertation Prize 2020

Congratulations to Isla whose dissertation explores Algerian Kamel Daoud’s non-fictional text, 'Le peintre dévorant la femme'.

Well done to Isla Paterson who has just completed a Masters by Research entitled “Playing to the West only? Representations of Picasso, the gendered body, and Islamism in Kamel Daoud’s Le peintre dévorant la femme”. 

Isla’s Master dissertation explores Algerian Kamel Daoud’s non-fictional text, Le peintre dévorant la femme, which has been met with acclaim in French literary circles, winning various prizes. The dissertation examines concepts relating to the visual, to explore how Daoud negotiates his positionality in the Franco-Algerian discursive space and beyond. It establishes whether there is an imbalance in the text that means Daoud, subconsciously or not, speaks to particular sectors of his ‘Western’ French audience more so than ‘Muslim’ – Algerian – ones. The thesis analyses Daoud’s representations of Picasso, Paris, the ‘museum’, and the gendered body in ‘Western’ and ‘Muslim’ societies. 

Proposed and supported by Professor Kamal Salhi, Isla’s dissertation was selected for the first prize of the Algerian Studies Master’s Dissertation Prize 2020. The Society for Algerian Studies and the LSE Middle East Centre announced the second year of a prize aimed at Master’s students in the UK conducting research on Algeria. Designed to encourage and celebrate outstanding research, prizes are awarded to the most innovative and significant Master’s dissertations (theses) focussing on Algeria. 

The Jury’s comments:

Thoughtful and well-written; good command of subject; account of development of Islamist movement. 

This is an interesting venture to study Daoud’s essay, which is much less studied than his novels and journalistic essays.

Combines cultural, sociological, critical theory and gender theory in a strong and effortless way. Excellent and controlled throughout the paper, pleasure to read. Places Algerian culture and Daoud in a complex framework and reaches clear assessments on how to receive his work.

Isla is also due to start a WRoCAH funded PhD on ‘Representations of women and sexuality in Francophone North African literature’ in 2021. 

Isla Paterson - dissertation prize winner