By focusing on telling aspects of the immigration debate, Camiscioli reveals how racial hierarchies were constructed, how gender figured in their creation, and how only white Europeans were cast as assimilable. Delving into pronatalist politics, she describes how potential immigrants were ranked according to their imagined capacity to adapt to the workplace and family life in France. She traces the links between racialized categories and concerns about industrial skills and output, and she examines medico-hygienic texts on interracial sex, connecting those to the crusade against prostitution and the related campaign to abolish “white slavery,” the alleged entrapment of (white) women for sale into prostitution abroad. Camiscioli also explores the debate surrounding the 1927 law that first made it possible for French women who married foreigners to keep their French nationality. She concludes by linking the Third Republic’s impulse to create racial hierarchies to the emergence of the Vichy regime.
Elisa Camiscioli is Associate Professor of History and Women’s Studies at Binghamton University.
The Color of Liberty addresses four major themes: the evolution of race as an idea in France; representations of "the other" in French literature, art, government, and trade; the international dimensions of French racial thinking, particularly in relation to colonialism; and the impact of racial differences on the shaping of the modern French city. The many permutations of race in French history—as assigned identity, consumer product icon, scientific discourse, philosophical problem, by-product of migration, or tool in empire building—here receive nuanced treatments confronting the malleability of ideas about race and the uses to which they have been put.
Contributors. Leora Auslander, Claude Blanckaert, Alice Conklin, Fred Constant, Laurent Dubois, Yaël Simpson Fletcher, Richard Fogarty, John Garrigus, Dana Hale, Thomas C. Holt, Patricia M. E. Lorcin, Dennis McEnnerney, Michael A. Osborne, Lynn Palermo, Sue Peabody, Pierre H. Boulle, Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall, Tyler Stovall, Michael G. Vann, Gary Wilder
In this pioneering work, William B. Cohen traces the ways in which negative attitudes toward blacks became deeply embedded in French culture. Examining the forces that shaped these views, Cohen reveals the persistent inequality of French interactions with blacks in Africa, in the slave colonies of the West Indies, and in France itself. Now a classic, The French Encounter with Africans is essential reading for anyone engaged in current discussions of European relations with non-Europeans and with issues of racism, ethnicity, identity, colonialism, and empire.
Bowen argues that the focus on headscarves came from a century-old sensitivity to the public presence of religion in schools, feared links between public expressions of Islamic identity and radical Islam, and a media-driven frenzy that built support for a headscarf ban during 2003-2004. Although the defense of laïcité (secularity) was cited as the law's major justification, politicians, intellectuals, and the media linked the scarves to more concrete social anxieties--about "communalism," political Islam, and violence toward women.
Written in engaging, jargon-free prose, Why the French Don't Like Headscarves is the first comprehensive and objective analysis of this subject, in any language, and it speaks to tensions between assimilation and diversity that extend well beyond France's borders.
Joan Wallach Scott, the renowned pioneer of gender studies, argues that the law is symptomatic of France's failure to integrate its former colonial subjects as full citizens. She examines the long history of racism behind the law as well as the ideological barriers thrown up against Muslim assimilation. She emphasizes the conflicting approaches to sexuality that lie at the heart of the debate--how French supporters of the ban view sexual openness as the standard for normalcy, emancipation, and individuality, and the sexual modesty implicit in the headscarf as proof that Muslims can never become fully French. Scott maintains that the law, far from reconciling religious and ethnic differences, only exacerbates them. She shows how the insistence on homogeneity is no longer feasible for France--or the West in general--and how it creates the very "clash of civilizations" said to be at the root of these tensions.
The Politics of the Veil calls for a new vision of community where common ground is found amid our differences, and where the embracing of diversity--not its suppression--is recognized as the best path to social harmony.