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.
Homosexuality, Male Prostitution, and Intergenerational Sex in 1950s Italy
. Hustlers were interested in money, and did not seem to perceive their transactional same-sex behaviors as acts defining their sexualities as “abnormal.” The young marchette described by Davidson and Kinsey inhabited queer spaces lacking a clear-cut hetero
Gender, Liturgy, and Authority among Dominican Nuns in Castile in the Middle Ages
Mercedes Pérez Vidal
in the empowering of these aristocratic women, not only through the commission of works of art, but also through the liturgical performance and the use of monastic spaces. However, all these were also highly contested areas between the nuns and male
A Reconsideration of the Concept of Space and Its Role in the Early Modern Period
This exploratory essay seeks to unravel the inherent contradictions between two fundamental trends in contemporary historiography: the “spatial turn” on the one hand, and the “linguistic turn” on the other hand. The “spatial turn,” it argues, turned “space's” status as a category of analysis into an accepted dogma. Under these circumstances, one often overlooks the fact that “space,” like all concepts, can also be problematic and at times even misleading. By looking at several examples from and about the intellectual world of early modern Europe, the article demonstrates how the use of space as a category of analysis encounters two fundamental challenges. First, the problem of the absence of the word “space” itself from important early modern texts (“shrinkage”); and second, the overuse of the term “space” in translations and analysis of early modern intellectual works (“contamination”).
The Case of Chez Palmyre
a kiss between Colette and her lover, Mathilde de Morny. 9 Through Palmyre’s two businesses, we can retrace the origins and transformation of lesbian and gay commercial space in modern Paris and its role in the emergence of commercialized mass
Unearthing Children's Play in the Public Parks of Interwar Paris
By the interwar years, Parisian parks—artificial pockets of nature in the densely built city—had become a locus of debates around “child-friendly play spaces.” The diversity of Paris’s young population in age, gender, and social status meant that the criteria of what constituted “child-friendly” was constantly in flux and that definitions of childhood remained fluid. Interwar Parisian parks became spaces of debate over proper forms of outdoor play and the risks children faced while playing. Municipal administrators and elected municipal councilors, together with pedagogues and parents, mutually constructed the spaces of parks and park-use policies. Children’s presence in public acted both as an incentive and a challenge in creating municipal policies to regulate public spaces or in reconfiguring the organization of these spaces. Municipal council debates, parents’ petitions or complaints, reports filed by neighborhood representatives, and daily logs recorded by park guards all reveal how children’s actions in green spaces played a pivotal role in the making and remaking of the urban environment.
The Founding Generation of the Jeunesse ouvrière chrétienne féminine
W. Brian Newsome
In 1928 a group of young Parisian working women, guided by Father Georges Guérin, established a Catholic youth group called the Jeunesse ouvrière chrétienne féminine. This study examines the ideas of the founding generation of the so-called Jocists on women and the home; the ways in which these conceptions were rooted in religious assumptions about women and domestic space; the evolution of these positions through the Ligue ouvrière chrétienne féminine and the Mouvement populaire des familles (adult organizations that evolved from the youth group); and the effect of these ideas on the shape of domestic space in France. From this investigation emerges a portrait of conflicted individuals and organizations advocating ideas that were sometimes conservative, sometimes liberal, often contradictory, but all rooted in Catholic social doctrine. This story enriches our understanding of the Catholic Left, of which these associations became an integral part, and the impact that these groups had on France.
Using a comparative method, this article explores the reasons for the absence of a legal ban on Muslim headscarves in the United States. Study of France reveals a culture that values "public space" and "citizenship." The United States places more value on the generic concept of "religion" as the unifying bond among individuals, even of different religious groupings. Cross-religious sympathy is a distinctive feature of American culture and reflected in legal briefs to the Supreme Court. The article suggests that legal concepts are not merely reflections of social institutions but are important social facts in themselves.
This article looks at the significance of local circumstances, including direct encounters between victims and assailants, in the genocide process. In what scholars term “the micropolitical turn in the study of social violence,“ the argument here considers the encounter from the perspectives of both constituent parties. Assailants often acted before they thought, raising questions about the premise of intention and calculation that anchors the defining Article 2 in the United Nations Genocide Convention. Victims in local encounters express in their accounts a recognition of their assailants and describe what amounts to a betrayal of the trust they invested in their compatriots. Expressions of recognition in witness accounts attenuate victims' resentment and recrimination, opening a space that permitted possibilities for postgenocide reconciliation and even qualified forgiveness.
Print Culture and Visual Satire in Restoration Paris
Restoration-era discourse on the montagnes russes—early roller coasters—reveals how leisure activity could become a lightning rod for perspectives on public space, tensions among social groups, and expressions of patriotism. Eager to profit from the montagnes russes craze, boulevard theaters hosted a number of plays on the subject. Through the buffoonish character M. Calicot, one such comedy—entitled The Battle of the Mountains— caricatured young clothing-trade salesclerks who frequented roller-coaster parks. The play provoked the ire of some of these men, who “waged war” on the Variety Theater, where the play was performed. The conflict in turn sparked satires in print, visual, and other media. These cultural productions both reflected the short-lived mania for roller coasters and shaped attitudes in their own right, all while employing laughter to deal with postwar trauma.