For decades, the influential Franco-American scholar Stanley Hoffmann saw his role at Harvard as “explainer and defender of France.” * 1 France was an indispensable country—from culture to architecture, from education to bureaucracy. Analyzing the
Narrating the History of “Empire” in France, 1885–1900
In 1912, Georges Saint-Paul, a doctor who had spent his career serving the French army in Algeria and Tunisia, wrote a series of articles later collected into a book called Vers l’empire . * In these articles, he insisted that the Third Republic
“French studies” were much easier to do thirty years ago when French Politics, Culture & Society was founded. France then seemed, and largely was, synonymous with Paris, which appeared knowable. It also seemed possible to scan French intellectual and cultural life across disciplines, in part because the Parisian French media loudly announced where the action was. French politics also looked distinctive internationally and French leaders projected themselves around the planet. It was understandable that FPCS would have holistic goals and attempt to cover as much of what was happening as possible while eagerly embracing inter-disciplinarity. Since then there have been massive changes, however. France's intellectual, cultural, social, and political biographies have been decentralized, Europeanized, globalized, and internationalized. French academic disciplines, like those in other countries, have been subdivided, often in difficult-to-follow ways. France itself, in the 1980s a formerly colonial great power that still spoke stridently in world affairs, is now a medium-sized member of the EU under very great economic and social strains. It is vastly harder to do holistic “French studies” now. All the more reason to try!
Un exemple d’apolitisme militant ?
le chemin de la « Vérité », et la contrainte dogmatique de ne contester ni récuser le système en place par un investissement « traditionnel » dans le champ politique. En d’autres termes, comment représenter une force de changement social en France
In 1913, famine struck the Sahel from Senegal to Sudan and killed as many as half a million people. French observers barely noted the event. In 1931, a far smaller famine in western Niger caused between 15,000 and 30,000 deaths. This time, the
French and Algerian Ports and the Birth of the Wine Tanker
For a ship whose purpose was to carry wine from Algeria to France the name Bacchus was well chosen. A few years before the ship’s first launch in 1935, French archeologists had excavated third-or fourth-century mosaics depicting the wine
It is argued that the concept of “French studies” originally embodied in this journal was born of a unique constellation of social, cultural, and political forces characteristic of the middle years of the Cold War. The unity of the field defined by that moment was subsequently challenged by tensions inherent in the shift to a more transnational comparative perspective. A return to a ”reflective equilibrium” between the local and the global anchored in an emphasis on language and culture is advocated.
The Illusion of "Ethnic Statistics"
Alain Blum and France Guérin-Pace
In this article, we engage in a debate that first took place in France ten years ago, but that has revived today. This debate concerns the question of whether to introduce ethnic categories in statistical surveys in France. There is strong opposition between those who argue for statistical categories to measure ethnic or racial populations as part of an effort to fight against discrimination, and those who argue against such statistics. The latter, including the authors of the present article, discuss the impossibility of building such categories, their inadequacies, and the political and social consequences they could have because of the way they represent society. They also argue that there are better, more efficient ways to measure discrimination and to fight against it. After describing the history of this debate, the authors present the different positions and explore the larger implications of the debate for French public life.
Colette and the French Singularity
achieve what no man could achieve.” 1 This is French novelist Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette in a 1927 interview with German journalist Walter Benjamin entitled “Should Women Participate in Political Life? Against: The Poetess Colette.” Little is known about
Historicizing the Gallic Singularity
Jean Elisabeth Pedersen
This interdisciplinary special issue of French Politics, Culture & Society presents five articles by historians and literary critics with a common interest in one particular aspect of what scholars across a range of fields have identified