Benjamin Stora in 2012
Benjamin Stora (born 2 December 1950 in Constantine, French Algeria) is a French historian, expert on North Africa, who is widely considered one of the world's leading authorities on Algerian history. He was born in a Jewish family which left the country following its War of Independence in 1962. Stora holds two PhDs (1974 and 1984) and a Doctorate of the State (1991). His books and articles have been translated into several languages, including English, Arabic, Spanish, German, Russian and Vietnamese.
Stora currently teaches at the University of Paris 13 and the Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilisations (INALCO). He founded and has been head of the Institut Maghreb-Europe since its inception in 1991. As a member of the French School of the Far East he lived for two years in Hanoi, Vietnam, where he pursued his research on the imaginary of the Algerian and Vietnamese wars. In 1998 he was guest lecturer at the University of New York. He also spent three years in Rabat, Morocco, researching Algerian and Moroccan nationalism.
He has published almost thirty books, the most well known of which include a biography of Messali Hadj (reprinted by Hachette-Poche, 2004); a Biographical Dictionary of Algerian Militants (L'Harmattan, 1985); Gangrene and Oblivion: Memory of the Algerian War (La Découverte, 1991); They Came From Algeria: Algerian Immigration in France (1912-1992) (Fayard, 1992); The History of Colonial Algeria 1830-1954 (La Découverte, 1993); The History of Algeria Since Independence (La Découverte, 1994); Ferhat Abbas (Denoël, 1995, with Zakia Daoud); Algeria in 1995 (Michalon, 1995); Dictionary Of Books on The War in Algeria (L'Harmattan, 1996); Conscripts in The War in Algeria (Gallimard, 1997); The 100 Doors Of Maghreb (L'Atelier, 1999); The Last Generation of October (Stock, 2003); and The Three Exiles, Jews of Algeria (Stock, 2006) (selected for the Renaudot Essay Prize, 2006).
Stora was a historical advisor for the film Indochine, which won the Oscar for best foreign film (1993), commissioner for the exhibitions France at War in Algeria (Invalides Museum, Paris, France, 1992) and Images of the Algerian War (La Coupole Museum, Saint Omer, France, 2002). He is the author of the documentary The Algerian Years, broadcast by the France 2 television network in 1991. He collaborated with Jean-Michel Meurice to produce the documentary The summer of '62 in Algeria: The two faces of independence, broadcast by the France 5 network in 2002. In 2010 he was the historical advisor for The first man, a screen adaptation of Albert Camus's last, unfinished novel, and for The free men by director Ismaël Ferroukhi.
His most recent works include a book, co-directed with Emile Temime, on the history of immigration in France, Immigrances. In 2008 he published a biographical essay, The never-ending wars: A historian, France and Algeria (published by Stock, 2008). The following year his book, The De Gaulle Mystery: His project for Algeria, was met with great critical acclaim in France and Algeria.
He is a member of the jury for the History Prize of the French Senate, and president of the scientific council of the Maghreb section of French foreign research institutes (CNRS).
In 1968, Benjamin Stora joined Pierre Lambert's Trotskyist activist group Alliance des Jeunes pour le Socialisme - Organisation Communiste Internationaliste (AJS-OCI, lit. "youth's alliance for socialism - internationalist communist organisation"). In 1986, Stora made a biography about Algerian nationalist and independentist leader Messali Hadj (Algerian National Movement).