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Book Reviews

Madeline Woker, Caroline Ford, and Jonathan Gosnell

Owen White, The Blood of the Colony: Wine and the Rise and Fall of French Algeria (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2020).

Andrea E. Duffy, Nomad's Land: Pastoralism and French Environmental Policy in the Nineteenth-Century Mediterranean World (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2019).

Charlotte Ann Legg, The New White Race: Settler Colonialism and the Press in French Algeria, 1860–1914 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2021).

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A “Capital of Hope and Disappointments”

North African Families in Marseille Shantytowns and Social Housing

Dustin Alan Harris

Abstract

This article traces the history of specialized social housing for North African families living in shantytowns in Marseille from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s. During the Algerian War, social housing assistance formed part of a welfare network that exclusively sought to “integrate” Algerian migrants into French society. Through shantytown clearance and rehousing initiatives, government officials and social service providers encouraged shantytown-dwelling Algerian families to adopt the customs of France's majority White population. Following the Algerian War, France moved away from delivering Algerian-focused welfare and instead developed an expanded immigrant welfare network. Despite this shift, some officials and social service providers remained fixated on the presence and ethno-racial differences of Algerians and other North Africans in Marseille's shantytowns. Into the mid-1970s, this fixation shaped local social assistance and produced discord between the promise and implementation of specialized social housing that hindered shantytown-dwelling North African families’ incorporation into French society.

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Decorating Mothers, Defining Maternity

The Invention of the French Family Medal and the Rise of Profamily Ideology in 1920s France

Hannah M. Stamler

Abstract

This article offers a detailed analysis of the symbolism and early operation of the Family Medal, a maternity award created by the French government in 1920. Launched at a time when the women's rights were fiercely debated and when politicians feared for the longevity of the “French race,” this article claims the medal as a revealing tool of state efforts at gender and racial retrenchment. Honoring mothers who were moral and metropolitan, the medal represented an early attempt at institutionalizing a conservative and racialized vision of motherhood that would find fuller expression in the 1939 Family Code, itself a blueprint of Vichy family law.

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Financing Gender Equality

Budgets for Women's Policies in German and Austrian Länder

Ayse Dursun, Sabine Lang, and Birgit Sauer

Abstract

State budgets reflect political priorities, providing a measure of issue relevance over time and comparatively across states. This article offers the first analysis of Länder budgets for women's policy agencies (wpa) in Germany and Austria between 1991 and 2018. Comparing Länder wpa budgets provides insights into material allocations to, and the conditionality of, gender politics in Germany's strongly federalized state and Austria's weak federation. We find that German Länder budgeted for independent wpa earlier than Austrian Länder. However, with the advent of the 1999 Austrian coalition of Christian Democrats and the right-wing Freedom Party, which aimed to dismantle national-level gender policies, Austrian Länder investment in wpa grew to compensate for diminishing federal funds. The party constellation in power mattered more in Austria, but in both countries the parties in power were more important for wpa financing than the descriptive representation of women in Länder parliaments.

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“Homosexual People Do Not Stand Outside of Socialist Society”

Eingaben and the History of Homosexuality in East Germany

Jason Johnson

Abstract

This article centers on four petitions (Eingaben) presented to the East German Central Committee in the 1970s and 1980s by men attracted to other men. The East German legal apparatus required that the state address all petitions. An analysis of these Eingaben written by non-activists demonstrates a growing boldness to use the available legal structures to claim one's rights. The petitioners used the Eingaben system to assert their legitimacy as gdr citizens, forcing officials to deal with them as any other citizen. This article moreover calls for the still young field of East German homosexual history to more fully incorporate the untold number of Eingaben written by homosexuals in the former gdr. This would help to develop a more comprehensive historical narrative as such documents provide an invaluable and unique window into everyday life under socialism.

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L'Armée, la haute function publique et le massacre de Thiaroye en 1944 au Sénégal

Bureaucratie impériale et petits meurtres entre amis

Martin Mourre

Abstract

This article focuses on the Thiaroye massacre on 1 December 1944. Senegalese tirailleurs returning from Europe were killed by their officers simply for claiming the money they were owed. In this article I do not focus on the course of events, nor even on their political consequences, but rather on the way the events were explained by French authorities just after the tragedy. I take as my subject the biographies of several figures from the French state who were involved in the narration of these events. I try to see how these men were socialised in similar spaces. I am more specifically interested in the methods used by these administrations to write about the massacre. This article helps to better understand the French imperial state and the violence in the colonies and the link between military violence and political violence

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Narrating Political Subjectivity

A Conversation among Liberals, Conservatives, and Anti-Liberals

Manuel Clemens

Abstract

The currently changing political landscape in Europe and the United States gives rise to the question of what the tasks of Bildung are right now. Are the humanities able to engender a conversation about the deep divisions between liberals, conservatives, and even anti-liberals? Do they have the wisdom to reach out equally to Obama voters with progressive values, to conservatives who believe strongly in family, the nation, and God, and to supporters of populist parties with strong anti-liberal tendencies? The article addresses these questions by arguing for a political Bildungsroman and scrutinizing political subjectivity as meticulously as Freud interpreted dreams in psychoanalysis.

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A Post-Truth Campaign?

The Alternative for Germany in the 2019 European Parliament Elections

Maximilian Conrad

Abstract

This article analyzes the Alternative for Germany's campaign for the 2019 European Parliament elections against the backdrop of the phenomenon of “post-truth politics.” Post-truth politics is operationalized here as the strategic deployment of misleading frames and argumentative as well as evaluative styles. This has become a standard tool in the repertoire of populist actors, and in German politics, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) is a case in point. Despite the party's thematic shift from issues of European integration to migration and multiculturalism, the European Union (eu) still represents an important point of reference in the party's rhetoric. Empirically, this article addresses the importance of post-truth politics in the AfD's campaign by examining the frames and evaluative styles employed by the party and its leading candidates in evoking negative images of the eu, considering in particular social and other digital media as important venues for such processes.

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Refusing the “Gift” of Integration

Narratives of Migration at the Galerie des dons

Abigail E. Celis

Abstract

France's Musée national de l'histoire de l'immigration (MNHI) was founded in Paris in 2007, with the stated mission to change popular perceptions on immigration at a time of rising xenophobia. Within the MNHI is the Galerie des dons, an exhibition space dedicated to personal objects donated by immigrants and their families. Combining a museological and a new materialism approach, this article analyzes the textual mediation, spatial organization, material qualities, and social biographies of objects in the Galerie des dons collection as it existed from 2014 to 2019 in order to evaluate the MNHI's “new” narratives of immigration. It concludes that while the curatorial choices tend to reproduce an integration-oriented story of immigration, the individual objects in the Galerie serve as dissenting voices that complicate the institutional narrative.

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Transitioning Out of the Great War through Cinema

Self-Reflection and Distancing in L'Atlantide (1921) by Jacques Feyder

Leïla Ennaïli

Abstract

This article contributes to the discussions about the ways in which societies phase out (or not) of long periods of war by focusing on Jacques Feyder's film L'Atlantide (Queen of Atlantis) (1921) through the perspective of the challenges France faced after World War I. I argue that carefully crafted entertainment products such as L'Atlantide contributed to a slow “demobilization” of the mind in France. A distancing/reflecting mechanism at the heart of the film is twofold: it tackles fundamental changes brought about by the war, such as the degree of violence that permeated society, while providing the escapism of a colonial backdrop. This analysis proposes to read L'Atlantide as a text symptomatic of a time when World War I was in everyone's mind and when it had yet to be “digested.”