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Margaret Andersen, Patricia M. E. Lorcin, Emily Lord Fransee, and Antoinette Burton

Nimisha Barton, Reproductive Citizens: Gender, Immigration, and the State in Modern France, 1880–1945 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2020).

Ian Coller, Muslims and Citizens: Islam, Politics and the French Revolution (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2020).

Annette K. Joseph-Gabriel, Reimagining Liberation: How Black Women Transformed Citizenship in the French Empire (Champaign, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2019).

Françoise Vergès, The Wombs of Women: Race, Capital, Feminism. Translated and with an introduction by Kaiama L. Glover (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2020).

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Flânerie in the Time of Covid-19

French Journalistic References to Bookstore Strolling and Fashion Walking

Marylaura Papalas

Flânerie, or the practice of urban strolling described in nineteenth-century French print and visual culture, has evolved throughout modernity, expanding its reach into more global literary traditions and becoming an important topic of research in numerous fields of academic study. Various phenomena have shaped the evolution of how we walk in the city and how artists, essayists, and journalists record it, none more so than the forced lockdowns associated with the global Covid-19 pandemic. Journalists in France invented expressions like flânerie inversée, impossible flânerie, and librairie flânerie to describe new city practices. They looked to figures like the fashion flâneuse on the catwalk as a means of sublimating the stillness and monotony of the coronavirus confinement. This article traces the emergence between March 2020 and April 2021of these variations in shopping and fashion contexts, which underscore the enduring legacy of the practice and its everlasting presence in French culture.

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France in the Times of COVID-19

The Public Humanities as a Vaccine for Coexistence

Araceli Hernández-Laroche

This article examines the role of the public humanities in France during Covid-19 for self-preservation, coping with isolation, understanding an upended world, creating a sense of connection and belonging, and cultivating empathy for others. For instance, in dealing with the existential angst of confinement and economic woes, one of the novels that resonated the most in France and globally was Albert Camus’s The Plague. At the very moment that France enforced measures to restrict access to places of culture, many French people turned to the humanities for comfort and perspective. The pandemic accelerated the need for libraries, galleries, bookstores, museums, concert halls, opera houses, theaters, cinemas, and nightclubs, as well as places of dialogue like cafés and bistros. Dialogue and the cocreation of physical and virtual communities were needed as the spread of false information relating to science, vaccines, and nation exacerbated pre-pandemic divisions in French culture.

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Introduction

France in the Age of Covid-19

Éric Touya de Marenne

What does Covid-19 reveal about France today? What are its effects on culture, politics, and society? One of the contentions of this special issue is that measuring its impacts takes on full significance when approached in the context of other crises that have affected the nation in recent years. These include growing inequality and social and political division, and the rise of populism. This special issue examines how these existing predicaments shed light on the impact of Covid-19. It also seeks to explore ways through which we may give meaning to this tragic moment in French history through art and the public humanities.

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Les historiens et leurs ombres

le passé à la première personne du présent

Nathan Bracher

L’historien, en tant que sujet, est lié non seulement à son passé familial mais aussi à ses connaissances. L’histoire méthodique prétendait, au début, proscrire toute subjectivité, mettant l’historien à l’écart des recherches et de l’écriture. Or les événements et l’évolution historiographiques ont rendu caduque cette posture scientiste. Ce vingt-et-unième siècle voit les historiens s’impliquer ostensiblement dans leurs ouvrages. C’est le cas notamment avec Quelle histoire: Un récit de filiation (1914–2014) de l’éminent historien de la Grande Guerre, Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau. Nous verrons qu’un retour sur le choc de la guerre vécu par son grand-père paternel Robert Audoin permet de comprendre l’impact effroyable mais longtemps insoupçonné que celle-ci a eu sur le reste de sa vie ainsi que sur celle de Philippe Audoin, père de l’historien. La perspective ainsi découverte jette une lumière nouvelle sur le calvaire invisible vécu par d’innombrables véterans, mais aussi sur l’orientation des recherches de Stéphane Audoin-Rouzeau.

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Tessa Ashlin Nunn

The spaces in which amateur and professional dancers practiced their art greatly changed during the Covid-19 pandemic due to the closures of theaters and dance studios, yet dance continued to bring people together online. This article studies the media presence of the Paris Opera Ballet (POB) between March 2020 and May 2021 to analyze how the aesthetic and moral concept of grace has evolved. During this difficult year, dance took on a therapeutic role as POB dancers offered free online classes and performed in video work, in addition to taking on a political role as discussions about racism in ballet sparked public debates.

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Political Ramifications of Covid-19

Inequalities, Divides, Populism

Éric Touya de Marenne

The article examines how the current Covid-19 crisis in France crosses into existing socio-economic, political, and existential crises faced by the nation in recent years. It considers the pandemic’s impact in the context of the criticism that the French government response provoked in opposition parties regarding its preparedness and strategies. Beyond the multiple budget cuts that have affected the health-care system in France in recent years, and significantly lessen, according to critiques, the country’s ability to tackle Covid-19, a growing number of French people link the failure of their government and the rise of violence in society to France’s growing dependence on the EU and the decline of French sovereignty in a globalized world. The pandemic’s impact is measured through the prism of the current socio-economic crisis, triggered by months of confinements and curfews; the rise of unemployment and populism; and what it could mean for the future of democracy.

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Stages, Streets, and Social Media

Intersectional Feminism and Online Activism in France during the Pandemic

Claire Mouflard

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, intersectional feminists in France turned to social media to denounce the racism, misogyny, and sexual harassment that have plagued the French film industry and society at large for generations. Although their activism had started long before the pandemic with the Me Too and Black Lives Matter movements, the online debates they initiated during the March–May 2020 lockdown (when it became illegal to march, protest, or simply gather in public) reached new and larger audiences beyond their own feminist and artistic spheres. Social media posts and actions by Aïssa Maïga, Rokhaya Diallo, Noémie de Lattre, and comedy duo Camille et Justine elicited strong reactions from opposing parties, notably the “masculinistes” and the “féministes identitaires.” This article highlights these artists’ intersectional discourses, along with the verbal violence they endure online, and ponders the question of equity in terms of digital access and literacy.

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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.