French Lecture

A ‘French Intifada’? Ethnic Relations in Contemporary France

April 16 – 19, 2013                                                                                                         Gettysburg College (April 16), Dickinson College (April 17),                              Franklin & Marshall College (April 18)                        

Speaker:  Alec G. Hargreaves, Emeritus Winthrop-King Professor of Transcultural French Studies at Florida State University, and international authority on Franco-Maghrebi culture.

Ethnic relations in France, plagued for decades by ill-tempered debates over the nation’s immigrant minorities, most notably those of Muslim heritage, have in recent years taken a new and troubling turn. Among the symptoms of this are a sharp rise at the beginning of the new century in recorded cases of anti-semitism, a more recent rise in recorded cases of Islamophobia, the 2005 riots in the “banlieues”, and the fanatical killings of minority ethnic French soldiers and Jewish schoolchildren carried out by Mohamed Merah in 2012. These and other developments have led some commentators to speak of a “French Intifada” while others have denounced what they call “anti-white” racism. This paper aims to clarify the nature of these developments and their causes. Prof. Hargreaves will suggest that beneath the surface of ethnic tensions like deep-seated social, economic and political fractures that politicians in France have failed to address and that they have often exac
erbated. His remarks are divided into three main parts. The first of these considers survey and other data that can help us trace attitudinal trends among majority and minority groups. The second looks at long-term social, economic and political factors that have contributed to these developments while the third proposes a typology of sub-groups within the population of Maghrebi origin, France’s largest minority of Muslim heritage, designed to bring a sense of proportion and perspective to recent developments.

For more details, contact Professor Nancy Mellerski at mellersk@dickinson.edu

Alec G. Hargreaves is Emeritus Winthrop-King Professor of Transcultural French Studies at Florida State University. Formerly Chair of the Department of European Studies at Loughborough University, UK, he has held visiting positions at the University of Warwick, UK, Cornell University, USA, the Université de Lyon II and the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, France. A specialist on political, cultural and media aspects of post-colonial minorities in France, he is the author and editor of numerous publications including Voices from the North African Immigrant Community in France: Immigration and Identity in Beur Fiction (Oxford/New York: Berg, 1991; 2nd edition 1997), Immigration, ‘Race’ and Ethnicity in Contemporary France (London/New York: Routledge, 1995) Racism, Ethnicity and Politics in Contemporary Europe (Aldershot/Brookfield, Vermont: Edward Elgar, 1995), co-edited with Jeremy Leaman, Post-Colonial Cultures in France (London/New York: Routledge: 1997), co-edited with Mark McKinney, Minorités postcoloniales anglophones et francophones: études culturelles comparées (Paris: L’Harmattan, 2004) and Memory, Empire and Postcolonialism (Lanham, MD: Lexington, 2005). He is a member of the Editorial Boards of Expressions maghrébines, Francophone Postcolonial Studies, International Journal of Francophone Studies, Journal of European Studies and Research in African Literatures. In 2003, the French government honored him by naming him a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques, and in June 2006 he was awarded France’s highest national honor, the Légion d’honneur.

 
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