Michael Miller, Paul V. Dutton, and Laura Hobson Faure
Une notion stratégique dans l’espace littéraire francophone
This article offers a socio-historical approach to analyzing the genesis of the notion of “Algerian literature” and its structural relationship to “French literature”—unstable notions that have been subject to fierce debate. I show how “Algerian literature” has been nationalized and ethnicized during the twentieth century. These transformations are linked to Algerian writers’ literary and political struggles with one another. Their approaches to affirming or denying the very existence of “Algerian literature” during the colonial era, or its ethnic character after Algerian independence, depended on their political convictions, but also on their recognition within the French-Algerian literary space. A structural analysis of the kind offered here allows us to see new historical continuities and ruptures between French colonial literature and the literature of post-independence Algeria. It reveals too that the figure of Albert Camus has remained in the heart of the debates even to this day.
The Impact of French Internment on the Pacifist Convictions and Literary Imagination of Lion Feuchtwanger
Nicole Dombrowski Risser
German Jewish author, Lion Feuchtwanger, wove uncompromising pacifism into his post-World War I novels and plays, preferring a pen to a sword to oppose European fascism. Even over his six years of exile in France (1933–1939), Feuchtwanger maintained his pacifist convictions. This article traces the author’s late turn from literary pacifist antifascism to a reluctant, but firm advocacy of armed civilian and military struggle. Feuchtwanger’s internment by the French in the Les Milles detention camp triggered the author’s conversion. There, he abandoned his faith in pacifist, communist internationalism opting now for a romanticized idea of French nationalism, which pivoted around French martial, nationalist heroines like Joan of Arc and the Revolutionary Marianne. Novels, Paris Gazette (1939), Simone (1944), and his memoir The Devil in France (1941) demonstrated a sharpening of his pen to mobilize American and French readers for armed intervention and the militarization of female civilians. France in its betrayal, defeat, and regeneration became the lodestar for resetting Feuchtwanger’s compass.
New and Renewed Perspectives
The general picture drawn by Michael Marrus and Robert Paxton nearly forty years ago of the Vichy government’s state antisemitism has stood the test of time and has been reinforced. If an element of revisionism is called for, it is with respect to the role played by some figures within the Catholic hierarchy, especially Pierre-Marie Gerlier, the cardinal archbishop of Lyon. A still more detailed knowledge of Jewish rescue has been built up, which confirms the special position of Le Chambon and the Plateau Vivarais. And yet recent work also shows more clearly that what happened there was integrally part of a much wider story of rescue. The debate between Jacques Semelin, on the one hand, and Marrus and Paxton, on the other, over whether the fate of the Jews in France in 1940–1944 was shaped more by indifference than by consciously held antisemitism raises questions relating to both the history of Christianity and twentieth-century modernity.
The 1979 Vincennes Conference on Neoliberalism
Michael C. Behrent
This essay is an examination of one of the first instances of a public intellectual engagement with the phenomenon of neoliberalism in France: the conference on the nouvel ordre intérieur (“new internal order”) held at the University of Vincennes in March 1979. Though the conference had little immediate impact, its participants were prescient in recognizing and analyzing the demise of postwar social arrangements and the onset of a new political and economic paradigm. The essay examines the conference’s broader context: the 1973 economic crisis and the policies it triggered, anxiety about the Trilateral Commission’s report on democracy, the pushback against the anti-Marxist politics of the nouveaux philosophes, and the controversy surrounding the future of the experimental University of Vincennes. The essay then considers the analyses of some of the conference’s key participants (including Noam Chomsky, Michel Foucault, and Henri Lefebvre), as well as the tensions that emerged in their efforts to conceptualize what they called neoliberalism’s “soft way” (i.e., its combination of capitalist hegemony and social and cultural liberalism).
Verités au pays de veritas
The sociologist Michel Crozier went to North America several times, including visits to the universities of California, Harvard, Michigan, and Stanford. He always saw himself as a friend, even an admirer, of the United States. But what scholarly impact did he have on the US field of organizational behavior? Relying on an analysis of Crozier’s citation-impact within a sample of organizational behavior journals, this article demonstrates that his footprint on this academic field proved fairly light. His refusal to adopt a unitary normative approach can in part explain this relatively limited impact. Crozier preferred to unearth multiple truths (plural) rather than only one truth (singular). His ideology of non-ideology might otherwise have gained more followers in certain faculties, most notably at the Harvard Business School, where his position echoed the dominant viewpoint.
Situating the Present to Write the Past
Appearing in English translation in the first half of 2016, some four years after their publication in the original French, both Ivan Jablonka’s A History of the Grandparents I Never Had and Henry Rousso’s The Latest Catastrophe reflect on the foundations of history and historiography. Why do we study the past and how? In answering those essential questions, both Rousso and Jablonka tell a story, the story of history, while at the same time adumbrating the “morals” of history in terms of epistemology, historiography, and narration. Following rigorous methods and rules of evidence, contemporary history strives to be a science, yet on several levels remains a matter of conscience that is an eminently human, if at times all-too-human, endeavor.
A Comedic Film between History and Memory
This article reappraises Gérard Oury’s Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob (1973), a comedy about a bigoted Frenchman and an Arab revolutionary disguised as orthodox rabbis, by considering the film’s original historical context, its attention to traumatic memories, and its place inside French culture as a cinematic lieu de mémoire. Rabbi Jacob represented a comedic medium through which Oury addressed the serious themes of racism and antisemitism as he envisioned multicultural reconciliation between the French, Arabs, and Jews. Rabbi Jacob was inseparable from the history of Jews in France, their deportation during the Second World War, and the postwar acceptance that being Jewish was compatible with integration into France. At the same time, Rabbi Jacob portrayed Arabs as a series of (post)colonial stereotypes leading one pro-Palestinian supporter to hijack an airplane in protest. Rabbi Jacob records an optimistic moment at the close of the trente glorieuses and continues to serve as a source for narratives on philo-Semitism, tolerance, and anti-racism in France.
Trump, Le Pen, and the New Normal
Donald Trump’s surprise victory and the National Front’s steady electoral gains are not the simple product of globalization and its discontents, nor are they a direct continuation of earlier populist movements in the US and France. Rather, both rest in significant degree on transformative political projects undertaken in recent decades to recast partisan politics in each country. Newt Gingrich adopted a radical strategy in order to break Democratic dominance in Congress, destroying norms of parliamentary conduct, pushing the Republican Party to the right, and roiling the party’s base. Bruno Mégret sought to position the National Front—through a dédiabolisation of its public image, an increase in its institutional capacity, attention to local politics, and opportunistic alliances—in such a way as to allow it to supplant the traditional conservative parties. These strategies changed the political landscape in the US and France. The results are likely to be durable.