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Identifying ‘Terrorists’ in Paris

A Political Experiment with IBM Machines during the Algerian War

Neil MacMaster

The Paris police faced considerable problems in trying to identify migrant workers who, during the Algerian War, provided a support base for the Front de libération nationale. In order to overcome the failings of manual card-index systems (fichiers) the Préfecture of Police experimented in 1959-62 with IBM punch-card machines. The origin of these powerful identification techniques can be traced back to the inter-war statistical services headed by René Carmille. Although such methods were banned after the Liberation because of their repressive potential, they were discretely revived to track Algerians. Although the experiment proved successful, the proliferation of numerous decentralized fichiers continued to make the process of identifying wanted Algerians slow and cumbersome and this enabled FLN clandestine networks to survive intact to the end of the Algerian War. However, while rapidly superceded by true computers, the punch-card experiment was a precursor of contemporary, high-speed "Panoptican" systems and the computer driven" "révolution identitaire".

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Tyler Stovall

This article considers how the life of Aimé Césaire constitutes a template for the black presence in Paris. It concentrates on three themes: Paris as a (conflicted) symbol of liberty; Paris as an artistic and intellectual center; and Paris as a global city. It shows how, as the life of Césaire exemplifies, the black communities of Paris have seen the French capital as both a site of diasporic encounters and as a beacon of liberty. Like Césaire, the black presence in Paris has both challenged and underscored traditions of French universalism.

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Rosemary Wakeman

This article examines independent cinematic images of the Paris banlieue from the late 1990s to the present. Independent commercial and television films, documentaries, and amateur movies provide evidence of the changing representation of the Paris suburbs, and the shift from a spectacularized landscape of brutality to a more nuanced rendering of suburban life. It treats independent cinematic readings of the banlieue as related to the romanticized and touristic portrayal of central Paris.

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Marino De Luca

Several parties throughout the world are democratizing their internal processes. The most notable tools for achieving this aim are the primary elections through which electoral candidates and party leaders are selected. This article seek to analyze these “selections” by using survey data relating to primary elections held in October 2011 by the French Socialist Party. In particular, we make use of survey data to describe extensively some social and political characteristics of the voters and to connect them with the electoral performances of the candidates.

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Thierry Baudouin and Michèle Collin

During the Fordist period, the state transformed the historic site of Les Halles,in the heart of Paris, into the agglomeration's chief mass transit gateway.Efforts to make the site into a veritable tool of social, cultural, and economicmetropolitan development are struggling because of governmental modalitiesthat remain very marked by centralism. A majority of citizens, notably thoseliving in suburban Paris, actively stake a claim to this metropolitan dimensionand to the rich possibilities of this tool. The article principally analyzes the territorializingpractices of suburban youths, whose multiple subjectivities arestill poorly integrated into the site. Les Halles thus reveals the question of thecorrespondence of these establishing metropolitan practices to the reality ofthe centralized institutions around Paris intramuros.

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Biographers of Paris

Cultural Approaches to the Modern City

Victoria E. Thompson

Hollis Clayson, Paris in Despair: Art and Everyday Life under Siege (1870-71) (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002).

Mary Gluck, Popular Bohemia: Modernism and Urban Culture in Nineteenth-Century Paris (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005).

Patrice Higonnet, Paris: Capital of the World, translated by Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2002).

Alistair Horne, Seven Ages of Paris: Portrait of a City (London: Macmillan, 2002).

Colin Jones, Paris: The Biography of a City (New York: Viking, 2004).

Nicholas Papayanis, Planning Paris before Haussmann (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2004).

Pierre Pinon, Paris, biographie d’une capitale (Paris: Hazan, 1999).

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Jeffrey H. Jackson

By the 1920s, the physical transformation in the urban space of Montmartre led two groups of artists to "secede" from the city of Paris, at least in spirit. Calling themselves the Commune Libre de Montmartre and the République de Montmartre, these painters, illustrators, poets, writers, and musicians articulated a distinctive community-based identity centered around mutual aid, sociability, and limiting urban development. They also reached out to the poor of the neighborhood through charity efforts, thus linking their fates with those of other area residents. Through these organizations, neighborhood artists came to terms with the changes taking place in the city of Paris in the 1920s by navigating between nostalgia and modernism. They sought to keep alive an older vision of the artists' Montmartre while adapting to the new conditions of the post-World War I city.

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Fabrice Virgili and Danièle Voldman

Last spring in France a controversy arose over an exhibit of André Zucca's photographs of Paris under German occupation. The well-known photo journalist worked for the Nazi magazine Signal during World War II. For that reason, some people disapproved of an exhibit on the work of a former "collaborateur," a man who, in a way, helped Hitler's Germany. Those who prepared the exhibit justified the project on the basis of the beauty of Zucca's colored photos and the rarity of wartime color photos. They insisted on the importance of his use of agfacolor film, which was generally available only to Germans. Critics of the exhibition found Zucca's privileged access all the more disturbing. An analysis of the archives from the period exposes the complexity of the affair and the need for further research. Evidence from documents on Zucca's activity and opinions during the war reveal a man little interested in the world except to photograph it.

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Nathan Bracher

The present article argues that Hélène Berr's Journal goes well beyond mere testimony to provide an astute analysis not only of the persecutory measures, arrests, camps, and deportations but also of the various attempts to camouflage the violence and even of the wider implications of what she ultimately recognized to be a systematic extermination. Hélène Berr thus presents an extraordinary case of a young French Jewish student at the Sorbonne who, steeped in literature but untrained in history, nevertheless achieved a degree of historical lucidity that, in view of the confused, limited, and often unreliable information available to her in Nazi-occupied Paris, we can only consider as remarkable. Above all, Hélène Berr's very personal confrontation with history, as it unfolded in all the sinister complexity of what we now know as the Holocaust, enables us to better understand these events in the human terms in which they were experienced and with the ethical dimensions that they take on for us today.

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From Paris to Poland

A Postmortem of the Climate Change Negotiations

Tim Cadman, Klaus Radunsky, Andrea Simonelli, and Tek Maraseni

This article tracks the intergovernmental negotiations aimed at combatting human-induced greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change from COP21 and the creation of the Paris Agreement in 2015 to COP24 in Katowice, Poland in 2018. These conferences are explored in detail, focusing on the Paris Rulebook negotiations around how to implement market- and nonmarket-based approaches to mitigating climate change, as set out in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, and the tensions regarding the inclusion of negotiating text safeguarding human rights. A concluding section comments on the collapse of Article 6 discussions and the implications for climate justice and social quality for the Paris Agreement going forward.