ALGERIA: Podcasts

Tadrart Rouge mountains – Source: Reddit

There are some really interesting podcasts both from Algeria and about Algeria, though there’s a sharp language divide between the two. There’s almost no Algerian podcasts in English, but there are tons in French and Arabic – and there’s an interesting content split between the two languages. Since French is still the language of higher education in Algeria, the podcasts I found in French tend to be more formal history / interview / culture podcasts, while more casual conversation / sport / music podcasts are usually in Arabic, since that’s what’s more frequently spoken in daily life.

The following podcasts are in French:

Radio Campus Algérie: Sawt El Shabab – This is more than campus radio, Radio Campus Algérie is a project giving university-level journalism students an opportunity to not just learn the ropes, but engage in real reporting – and that includes independent and investigative reporting in the real world. I listened to a podcast from August 2020 that was reporting on other Algerian journalists that had been jailed by the government – a topic that would be bold enough from a seasoned reporter. These students are fearless!

Radio Algérie: Histoire et Mémoire – A podcast from Algeria’s public broadcaster that focuses on different topics on Algerian history. I listened to a very interesting one on Frantz Fanon, the anti-colonial philosopher, as well as one on the research by French and Algerian historians into the use of napalm during the Algerian War.

Taste of Algeria – A great playlist of old Algerian vinyl records put together by Toukadime – a pair of Algerian DJs / music producers. This playlist gives a really interesting spread of Algerian oldies and folk music. No talking, just music.

Radio Algérie: Votre Week-end – A weekend digest every Thursday with a mix of music and interviews on socio-cultural topics. I listened to the most recent one, with an extended interview on how Algerian identity and community ideals are taught in schools. Previous ones touched on managing diabetes during Ramadan, seismic-proofing older communities, and plastic surgery.

Above Tizi OuzouSource

I also have some very interesting podcast episodes about Algeria (but generally not by Algerians) that are all in English:

BBC Music Planet: Algeria – Another good podcast covering different styles of Algerian music – short samples and commentary on the wide variety of folk music across the country.

Ottoman History Podcast: Saharan Jews in French Algeria – An interesting interview with a Jewish studies professor about the identities and citizenship (or lack thereof) of Saharan Jews in Algeria during the French colonial era. It’s not just a primer on the history of the Jewish people in Algeria, it’s a microcosm of a bigger discussion about how the French colonial bureaucracy shaped national and cultural identities in a way that’s still affecting all religious and ethnic groups in post-colonial Algeria.

BBC: The Harragas of Algeria – Some investigative journalism from 2015 from the BBC about the Harragas (“burners” of documents) of Algeria – those who try emigrate to Europe as undocumented migrants, as well as interviews with those that move to Algeria to set up businesses.

Ottoman History Podcast: Dark Humor from Algeria’s “Dark Decade” – Interviews with PhD students who are studying the Algerian humour and comedy that was used as a release and coping mechanism during the Dark Decade of the civil war in the 90s.

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