Date of Award

Spring 2020

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts


Art History


MacKenzie Moon Ryan

Committee Member

Rachel Newcomb

Committee Member

Susan Libby


Contemporary understanding of Algeria during the early colonial period (1830-1970) is predominantly informed by French colonial written and visual documents, often viewing the colonies through a male and Orientalist gaze. This is especially apparent in the images created by the French of women in the Algerian capital of Algiers. Whether in lithograph, photograph, or painting, French Orientalist compositions featuring Algéroises (women of Algiers) relied on the construction of an increasingly submissive and sexually available subject, notably dressed in tailored waistcoats which, for the French, became synonymous with Algéroise sexuality. In this way, Algerian women’s veritable voices and perspectives during this period have been supplanted by the hypersexual French fantasy of women’s experiences. As an alternative lens, this thesis thus proposes the analysis of the Algéroise waistcoats the ghlila and frimla and the realities of the women who crafted and wore these garments as a challenge to the Eurocentric view on this early colonial period in Algeria. These waistcoats were worn daily by women within their female-exclusive domestic spheres (i.e. the harem) and served both practical functions in women’s daily activities and aesthetic functions in women’s personal tastes and collective fashion trends. Because of this, they more accurately speak to women’s private day-to-day experiences and perspectives which have been regrettably lost in the record and retelling of colonial history.

Rights Holder

Morgan Snoap