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Black in France

The Language and Politics of Race in the Late Third Republic

Jennifer Anne Boittin

This article uses notes generated by France's surveillance of African and Afro-Caribbean migrants during the interwar years to analyze the use black men made of racial terms such as nègre and mulâtre. Although developed before the twentieth century, such racial language was infused with new political, social and cultural meaning after World War I. Workers and intellectuals, often at odds with each other, developed a race consciousness that was both a means of uniting in response to colonialism and a reaction against those within their communities who did not appear anti-imperial enough in their politics. Arguing that racial language expressed the nuances and range of black men's political and ideological stances with respect to the French Empire, this article traces the meanings granted to race and the important role in cultivating their significance played by members of organizations such as the Union des Travailleurs Nègres.

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Le Mariage Des Homosexuels

Éric Fassin

Pour étudier le débat public sur la reconnaissance des unions de même sexe, la comparaison transatlantique nous confronte à un paradoxe1. D’une part, pendant les années 1990, la référence aux États-Unis est systématiquement invoquée en France, qu’il s’agisse de genre ou de sexualité, mais aussi d’ethnicité ou de race. D’autre part, durant la même période, en France comme aux États-Unis, on débat publiquement de la reconnaissance du couple homosexuel : on parle ainsi en même temps de choses comparables des deux côtés de l’Atlantique.

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Women in the French Resistance

Claire Andrieu

If the Resistance as a whole is part of French identity, the different types of resistance, among them that of women, do not benefit from the same status. On the contrary, official commemorations of the Resistance are based upon two implicit statements: that the Resistance and the nation are somewhat equivalent— the Resistance being viewed as the uprising of the whole nation—and that to differentiate among the resisters would go against the very principles of the Resistance, its universalism, its refusal to make any distinction in race or origin. The assimilationism that is part of the ideology of the French Republic hinders the recognition of particularisms, whether regional, cultural or gendered.

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Cultural Racist Frames in TF1's French Banlieue Riots Coverage

Jayson Harsin

Based on news video archives, this article employs critical frame and content analysis to analyze representations of the 2005 French banlieue riots on France's most-watched television station, TF1. Cultural racism theory is then used to analyze the results to demonstrate the discursive nature of the TF1 frames and the contexts of institutional racism they left out but which historians, ethnographers, and theorists of cultural racism suggest are crucial to understanding racial conflict in contemporary France. The most frequent frames blamed non-integrating cultures and illegal immigration. That is, race was coded in cultural traits of a problematic sub-group without mentioning it specifically.

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Historicizing The Second Sex

Judith G. Coffin

Catherine Rodgers, Deuxième sexe de Simone Beauvoir [sic]: Un Héritage admiré et contesté (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1998).

Simone de Beauvoir: Le Deuxième Sexe, Le Livre Fondateur du féminisme moderne en situation, ed. Ingrid Galster (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2004).

Cinquantenaire du Deuxième sexe, eds. Christine Delphy and Sylvie Chaperon (Paris: Syllepse, 2002).

Le Deuxième Sexe de Simone de Beauvoir: Textes réunis et présentés par Ingrid Galster, ed. Ingrid Galster (Paris: Presses de l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, 2004).

Margaret A. Simons, Beauvoir and the Second Sex: Feminism, Race, and the Origins of Existentialism (New York and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield, 2001).

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Freedom Papers Hidden in His Shoe

Navigating Emancipation across Imperial Boundaries

Sue Peabody

A microhistorical inquiry into the life of Furcy, a man held in slavery in the French Indian Ocean colony of Île Bourbon (today Réunion), sheds light on shifting French policies and practices regarding race and slavery from the Old Regime to the general emancipation of 1848. The mobility of two enslaved domestic servants, Furcy and his mother Madeleine, who traveled between Bengal, Île Bourbon, Mauritius, and continental France, challenged French and British understandings of who could be legitimately held as slaves. Furcy's tenacious battle to win recognition of his freedom in multiple jurisdictions is a forgotten precursor to many international disputes over the juridical principle of Free Soil in the age of Emancipation.

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French Color Blindness in Perspective

The Controversy over "Statistiques Ethniques"

Daniel Sabbagh and Shanny Peer

In the United States, while some race-based policies such as affirmative action have faced often successful political and legal challenges over the last quartercentury, historically, the very principle of official racial classification has met with much less resistance. The Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, according to which “no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” was not originally intended to incorporate a general rule of “color blindness.” And when in California, in 2003, the “Racial Privacy Initiative” led to a referendum on a measure—Proposition 54—demanding that “the state shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color or national origin,” this restriction was meant to apply exclusively to the operation of public education, public contracting or public employment, that is, the three sites where affirmative action was once in effect and might be reinstated at some point, or so the proponents of that initiative feared. In any case, that measure was roundly defeated at the polls.

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Affirmative Action at Sciences Po

Daniel Sabbagh

In the United States, the expression “affirmative action” generally refers to a wide array of measures set up at the end of the 1960s by executive agencies and the federal judiciary. These measures grant some (more or less flexible) kind of preferential treatment in the allocation of scarce resources—jobs, university admissions and government contracts—to the members of groups formerly targeted for legal discrimination (African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, women, sometimes Asians).1 In France, by contrast, the main operational criterion for identifying the beneficiaries of affirmative action policies (in French, “discrimination positive”) is not race or gender,2 but geographical location: residents of a socioeconomically disadvantaged area will indirectly benefit from the additional input of financial resources allocated by state agencies to that area as a whole.

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Book Reviews

William M. Reddy Politics and Theater: The Crisis of Legitimacy in Restoration France, 1815-1830 by Sheryl Kroen

Willa Z. Silverman Pulp Surrealism: Insolent Popular Culture in Early Twentieth-Century Paris by Robin Walz

Lenard R. Berlanstein The Modernist Enterprise: French Elites and the Threat of Modernity, 1900-1940 by Marjorie A. Beale

Laura Lee Downs Ouvrières parisiennes: marchés du travail et trajectoires professionnelles au vingtième siècle by Catherine Omnès

Mary D. Lewis The Colonial Unconscious: Race and Culture in Interwar France by Elizabeth Ezra

Seth Armus The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach by Alice Kaplan

Robert C. Ulin Crafting the Culture and History of French Chocolate by Susan J. Terrio

Thomas Bénatouïl Comparer l’incomparable by Marcel Detienne

John Mollenkopf The Social Control of Cities: A Comparative Perspective by Sophie Body-Gendrot

W. Rand Smith Tocqueville’s Revenge: State, Society, and Economy in Contemporary France by Jonah D. Levy

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Book Reviews

Christine Haynes, Lost Illusions: The Politics of Publishing in Nineteenth-Century France by Willa Z. Silverman

Lost Illusions: The Politics of Publishing in Nineteenth-Century France by Christine Hayne

Roderick Cooke La Responsabilité de l'écrivain: Littérature, droit et morale en France (XIXe-XXIe siècle) by Gisèle Sapiro

Venita Datta Dreyfus, Politics, Emotion, and the Scandal of the Century by Ruth Harris

Kenneth Mouré France's New Deal: From the Thirties to the Postwar Era by Philip Nord

Jeffrey Mehlman Correspondance, 1934-1968 by Jean Paulhan and Armand Petitjean

Justin Izzo L'Adieu au voyage: L'ethnologie française entre science et littérature by Vincent Debaene

Jean-Claude Barbier Recasting Welfare Capitalism: Economic Adjustment in Contemporary France and Germany by Mark Vail

Christopher Thompson Traîtres à la nation? Un autre regard sur la grève des Bleus en Afrique du Sud by Stéphane Beaud (with Philippe Guimard)

Paul A. Silverstein Collective Terms: Race, Culture, and Community in a State-Planned City in France by Beth S. Epstein