Honors Program

Spring Showcase Presenters

Sarah Bercot

Title: “The Algerian Revolution: Zhor Zerari's Prison Poetry in Translation”

Majors: French/ English             Minor: International Studies Certificate

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Nancy Virtue (ILCS– French)

External Reviewer: Dr. Lachlan Whalen (English)

Honors Program Council Liaison: Dr. Suzanne LaVere (History)


Sarah Bercot is an Honors student graduating this year with majors in both French and English with a concentration in literature. She has been president of the IPFW French Club for two years. While at IPFW Sarah has been recognized for her work in French, English, and Arabic, including the Excellence in Foreign Language Award (Arabic and French), Excellence in Service of a Foreign Language Award (French), the Outstanding Senior Award from the American Association of Teachers of French, the Avon Crismore Award, and the Beverly Hume Memorial Award. She also won third place in this year’s Student Research and Creative Endeavour Symposium for her poster titled The Algerian Revolution: Zhor Zerari’s Prison Poetry in Translation. Sarah plans to enroll in graduate school to pursue a career in translation, but is looking forward to first spending the next academic year living in France having accepted an assistant teaching position with the Académie de Nancy-Metz.


In this project I analyze and translate from French to English the collection Poèmes de prison, written by Zhor Zerari, an Algerian writer and militant who was imprisoned and tortured under the French government in Algeria during the Algerian War of Independence. My annotated and glossed translation will note and reflect significant poetic conventions, themes, and images. I will also present, interrogate, and analyze the translation process including important cultural, political, and historical aspects of the source language, providing a brief overview of French colonial activity in Algeria and the place of women in the resistance movement. I highlight theoretical, cultural, and linguistic problems in translation and suggest possible solutions. I present this analysis of my process in order to further understand the implications of feminist and “postcolonial” translation theory and practice in women’s writing and demonstrate the importance of these translations to the larger context of contemporary literature and language studies, French colonialization, Algerian Independence and the legacy of French censorship. I hope to expose and address a lack of access to texts like Zerari’s in literature and language study. This project is intended to complicate Western understandings of French colonization in Algeria, women militants and their role in independence efforts, and the translation of francophone poetry.