their literary landscape. * He expressed concern about how these new forms of information technology encroach upon the silence and intimacy necessary for human reflection and, by implication, for the production of literature. 1 Modiano’s comments were
Social Media from Modiano to Zola and Proust
The Grands Magasins Dufayel, a huge department store built on the northern fringe of late nineteenth-century Paris, had an important cultural influence on the city's working class. In a neighborhood with few public spaces, it provided a consumer version of the public square. It encouraged workers to approach shopping as a social activity, just as the bourgeoisie did at the famous department stores in central Paris. Like the bourgeois stores, it helped transform consumption from a personal transaction between customer and merchant into an unmediated relationship between consumer and goods. Through advertising the store portrayed itself as a space where the working-class visitor could participate in new and exciting forms of entertainment and technology. Its unique instore cinema and exhibits of inventions like X-ray machines and the gramophone created a new kind of urban space that celebrated the close relationship between technology and consumer culture.
The Jet-Age Airport and the Spectacle of Technology between Sky and Earth
Vanessa R. Schwartz
This article examines the second most visited site in Paris during the 1960s, behind only the Eiffel Tower, which stood outside the city's walls in Orly. The airport there, re-built in 1961 to welcome the new era of high-speed air travel in the form of jet service, featured a prominent “terrasse” where visitors paid admission to watch the jets come and go. This article examines the jet-age renovation of the airport and the wild popularity of visits there in order to consider the role of visual spectacle in advancing the culture of technological optimism of 1960s France.
Amateur Radio and the Politics of Aural Surveillance in France, 1921-1940
Derek W. Vaillant
As France wrestles over the uses and societal impact of digital media and the Internet, it is instructive to recall another era of communications innovation, namely the introduction of interwar radio to the French public, and the government's reaction to controversial applications by the citizenry. Recent scholarship has underscored the importance of interwar radio broadcasting to France and its territories. Less explored, however, is the work of amateur user/developers who shaped the radio medium as an instrument of speaking, as well as listening. Determined to manage applications of radio, the French Interior Ministry formed a Police de l'Air to monitor France's airwaves, including the activities of amateur radio users (i.e., hams), whose lawful (and sometimes unlawful) use of point-to-point and broadcast communication had begun to significantly disrupt the government's effort to dictate the future forms and uses of radio. Against a backdrop of political crisis and attempts to manage print and electronic communication and dissent, the skirmishes between the Police de l'Air and amateur radio users reveal historical aspects of contemporary debates over use, access, and qualifications to speak and be heard in mediated cultural and political settings.
Chandra Mukerji, Impossible Engineering: Technology and Territoriality on the Canal du Midi (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009).
Sara Pritchard, Confluence: The Nature of Technology and the Remaking of the Rhône (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011).
French and Algerian Ports and the Birth of the Wine Tanker
of Midi wine producers to Sète’s role in the importation of Algerian wine would continue well after Algeria became independent. 88 Stories of resistance to new technology rarely look heroic in hindsight. In Rouen, the protests of dockworkers against
Articles Special Issue on Representations, History, and Wartime France Special Issue on French Studies and Its Futures Dossier on Technology, the Visual, and Culture Reflections, Events, and Debates Review Essays Book Reviews Index of Books Reviewed
Laura Downs, Stéphane Tonnelat, and Joan Scott
Laura Downs Simone Weil by Francine du Plessix Gray
Stéphane Tonnelat The Glass State, The Technology of the Spectacle, Paris, 1981-1998 by Annette Fierro
Joan Scott Fausse Route by Elisabeth Badinter
On MoMA's Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes
Nicole C. Rudolph
This article reviews the New York Museum of Modern Art's recent Le Corbusier retrospective and its accompanying catalogue. The author critically evaluates the curators' reassessment of Le Corbusier's legacy via the lens of landscape. A key insight gleaned from the show pertains to technologies of mobility: inspired by the views from the automobile, the steamer, and the airplane, Le Corbusier deployed modern materials and techniques of mass construction in order to maximize an inhabitant's contemplation of the natural world. What we learn from Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes, the author argues, is that the architect valorized and designed to prioritize “3 Cs”: circulation, composition, and contemplation. The notion of contemplation may be more useful to understanding Le Corbusier's architecture than the concept of landscape.
Potel et Chabot and the Franco-Russian Alliance
Willa Z. Silverman
Between 1893 and 1901, the Parisian traiteur Potel et Chabot catered a series of gala meals celebrating the recent Franco-Russian alliance, which was heralded in France as ending its diplomatic isolation following the Franco-Prussian War. The firm was well adapted to the particularities of the unlikely alliance between Tsarist Russia and republican France. On the one hand, it represented a tradition of French luxury production, including haute cuisine, that the Third Republic was eager to promote. On the other, echoing the Republic’s championing of scientific and technological progress, it relied on innovative transportation and food conservation technologies, which it deployed spectacularly during a 1900 banquet for over twenty-two thousand French mayors, a modern “mega-event.” Culinary discourse therefore signaled, and palliated concerns about, the improbable nature of the alliance at the same time as it revealed important changes taking place in the catering profession.