As We Exist: A Postcolonial Autobiography (Paperback)

As We Exist: A Postcolonial Autobiography By Kaoutar Harchi, Emma Ramadan (Translated by) Cover Image

As We Exist: A Postcolonial Autobiography (Paperback)

By Kaoutar Harchi, Emma Ramadan (Translated by)


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(Biography and Memoir)
In this thoughtful coming-of-age memoir, a young sociologist reflects on her Moroccan immigrant parents, their journey to France, and how growing up an outsider shaped her identity.

Imbued with tenderness for her family and a critical view of the challenges facing French North African immigrants, Kaoutar Harchi’s probing account illustrates the deeply personal effects of political issues. Mixed with happy memories of her childhood home in eastern France are ever-present reminders of the dangers from which her parents sought to shield her. When they transfer her to a private, Catholic middle school—out of fear of Arab boys from their working-class neighborhood—Kaoutar grows increasingly conscious of her differences, and her conflicted sense of self.
    Notable events in her teens—the passing of a law in 2004 banning religious symbols from public schools; the 2005 deaths of Bouna Traoré and Zyed Benna, which sparked riots against police brutality—underscore the injustice of a society that sees Muslims not as equals but as a problem to solve. With elegant, affecting prose, As We Exist charts Kaoutar’s political and intellectual awakening, which would become the heart and soul of her work as a sociologist and writer.
Kaoutar Harchi was born in Strasbourg, France, and was a visiting professor at New York University in 2019. She is a sociologist whose work focuses on political relations between speciesism, racism, and sexism in postindustrial societies. As We Exist is her first book to appear in English.

Emma Ramadan is an educator and literary translator from French. She is the recipient of the PEN Translation Prize, the Albertine Prize, an NEA Fellowship, and a Fulbright. Her translations include Abdellah Taïa’s A Country for Dying, Kamel Daoud’s Zabor, or The Psalms, and Barbara Molinard’s Panics.
Product Details ISBN: 9781635422849
ISBN-10: 1635422841
Publisher: Other Press
Publication Date: March 14th, 2023
Pages: 176
Language: English
“A simultaneously tender and powerful memoir…A graceful, revelatory remembrance.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

A powerful account of the search for home while coming of age…the moments when a young Harchi finds glimmerings of hope and joy for her future make for quietly transcendent reading.” —Words Without Borders 

“One of the most-discussed books of the moment…Harchi, the child of Moroccan immigrants, takes race as her subject, seen through the lens of her life in the Strasbourg suburbs. The path to adulthood takes her from Catholic school, where she’s addressed by a teacher as ‘ma petite arabe,’ to university and political awakening.” —Times Literary Supplement

As We Exist is an easy read, informative and inspiring from cover to cover. My heart was racing on every page of this book. The author and I connect in so many ways, from our parents owning livestock on the lands they grew up to witnessing the impacts of European colonial powers. Moving borders, I know as much as the author does that hearing violence is not the same as knowing violence. Kaoutar and her family built their lives based on navigating their new lives while also living their old lives in Morocco. This is a must-read for everyone.” —Abdi Nor Iftin, author of Call Me American: A Memoir

“The magnetism of this book, its relevance, its keenness call for an immediate rereading…superb.” —Télérama