The writer Gabriel Audisio once called the Mediterranean a “liquid continent.” Taking up the challenge issued by Audisio’s phrase, Edwige Tamalet Talbayev insists that we understand the region on both sides of the Mediterranean through a “transcontinental” heuristic. Rather than merely read the Maghreb in the context of its European colonizers from across the Mediterranean, Talbayev compellingly argues for a transmaritime deployment of the Maghreb across the multiple Mediterranean sites to which it has been materially and culturally bound for millennia.
The Transcontinental Maghreb reveals these Mediterranean imaginaries to intersect with Maghrebi claims to an inclusive, democratic national ideal yet to be realized. Through a sustained reflection on allegory and critical melancholia, the book shows how the Mediterranean decenters postcolonial nation-building projects and mediates the nomadic subject’s reinsertion into a national collective respectful of heterogeneity. In engaging the space of the sea, the hybridity it produces, and the way it has shaped such historical dynamics as globalization, imperialism, decolonization, and nationalism, the book rethinks the very nature of postcolonial histories and identities along its shores.