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France

A New Secularism?

[Cover of Mayanthi L. Fernando,

[This is the third of three responses to Muriam Haleh Davis’ review essay of books by Joan W. Scott, Naomi Davidson, and Mayanthi Fernando. For Joan W. Scott’s response, “More on Laïcité in Historical Context," click here; for Naomi Davidson’s response, “The Vagaries of Laïcité,” click here.] In bringing the work of Joan Scott and Naomi Davidson together with mine, Muriam Haleh Davis demonstrates the importance of undertaking a history of the present. This history enables us to identify some of the structuring logics of French republicanism and French secularism, as well as to track both continuities and discontinuities between past and present, something that ...

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The Vagaries of Laïcité

[Detail from the cover of Naomi Davidson,

[This is the second of three responses to Muriam Haleh Davis’ review essay of books by Joan W. Scott, Naomi Davidson, and Mayanthi Fernando. For Joan W. Scott’s response, “More on Laïcité in Historical Context," click here.] A cartoon by the French cartoonist Gil from 10 January, titled “Communion nationale,” shows a white policeman frisking an ambiguously raced man standing against the wall with his hands in the air. “Je suis Charlie,” says the man, and the policeman replies, “Yeah, yeah, me too.” In the past month, many of us have seen an explosion of items in the French press about Muslims (be they radical/homegrown/foreign/prisoners/mentally ...

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Do Muslims Belong in the West? An Interview with Talal Asad

[Architectural art from Cordoba's Islamic past. Image by charlemagne via Pixabay]

In this discussion, Talal Asad identifies the problematic ways in which the presence of Muslim communities in Western contexts has been characterized in response to outbreaks of violence such as the recent events in Paris. Asad argues that many of the critiques to which Muslims are subjected, namely their dependence on transcendent forces, also inhabit the intellectual assumptions of secular and atheist commentators.  He further expresses the need to examine Islam as a "tradition" in order to avoid precisely the types of sweeping generalizations and focus instead on the complexities and particularities of the various ways in which Islam is lived. ...

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Reconsidering the Rif Revolt (1958-59)

[Image of a Moroccan Liberation Army march in Nador around 1955. Image from mondeberbere.com]

“The people of the North have previously known the violence of the crown prince; it will be best for them not to know that of the king’s.” It is in this way that Hassan II (1961-1999) addressed himself to the inhabitants of northwest Morocco—and to the rest of the population—in reaction to the riots of 1984. Adopting a scornful and serious tone, the monarch reminded his subjects that he is capable of anything for the sake of conserving power. To refresh their memory, he did not hesitate to make a brief and symbolic allusion to the ferocious repression he carried out against the same regions twenty-five years beforehand. The sovereign's rhetorical choice to refer to the ...

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Charlie Hebdo ve Cumhuriyetin Sinirlari

[Image of a demonstration following the attack on the Charlie Hebdo office. Image by canal6hn/Flickr.]

Charlie Hebdo and the Borders of the Republic Charlie Hebdo's office immediately after the attack on the reviewers " West and democracy "," the core values ​​of the French Republic "against a huge thrill to have doors undertaken against these attacks. This "republican" values ​​in an unquestionably, that came up as a completely pure emanating from the origin. Moreover, Muslims demand forces to show that they share the sacred values ​​of secularism and freedom of expression are also increasingly proliferated. With devastating irony, forced the Muslims, historically made ​​to keep them out, their commitment to these values ​​formed prove is ...

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Charlie Hebdo and the Limits of the Republic

[Image of a demonstration following the attack on the Charlie Hebdo office. Image by canal6hn/Flickr.]

Immediately following the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, commentators denounced an attack on "Democracy and the West," an attack on "the fundamental values of the French Republic." Everywhere in France, people are rallying around these apparently pure, unproblematic “Republican values.” There have been many requests for Muslims to demonstrate that they share in the Republic’s cherished values of secularism and freedom of speech. It is bitterly ironic that Muslims are being asked to prove that they believe in the same values from which they were historically excluded. The Republic has always had a darker side, ...

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Short Skirts and Niqab Bans: On Sexuality and the Secular Body

[Non A L'islamisme. Image by Tangi Bertin]

Introduced in Québec in March 2010, Bill 94 proposed requiring women to unveil their faces if they wanted to work in the public sector or access public services, including hospitals, universities, and public transportation. The bill was eventually tabled and was followed in November 2013 with Bill 60, which demanded in more generalist language the removal of conspicuous religious signs in order to dispense or use public services in the province. These Québécois bills—which have not passed—echo the logic of the April 2011 French law targeting the niqab (face veil) and banning the “dissimulation of the face” in public spaces. Both French and Québécois proponents of these ...

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بغايا بغداد التعيسات

[

الى بدر شاكر السياب الذي قال "بغداد مبغى كبير" في ليلة حالكة من عام 1938، كانت العاصمة العراقيّة معرّضة للطوفان بسبب ارتفاع منسوب المياه في نهر دجلة. في حالات كهذه، تستعين الشرطة بالمارّة من أجل حثّهم على إنقاذ مدينتهم. إلا أن شوارع المدينة كانت خالية بسبب البرد القارس وتأخر الوقت، فسارع عدنان محيي الدين، معاون الشرطة، إلى التفكير بمنطقة قريبة من النهر ومن "السدة"، مكمن الفيضان، لا تنام بسبب طبيعتها. إنها منطقة "الكلجيّة"، الحاضنة الرئيسة لبيوت الدعارة في جانب الرصافة من بغداد آنذاك. ذهبت سيارات الشرطة إلى "الكلجيّة" ودعت الجميع هناك إلى العمل على إنقاذ العاصمة من خطر الفيضان. لبّى الطلب كل من كان سهراناً في تلك الليلة. ...

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Baya Mahieddine: A Profile from the Archives

[Artist Baya Mohyieldin. Source: djazairess.com website.]

[A Profile from the Archives is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally published in Arabic  and was translated by Mazen Hakeem.] Baya Mahieddine (aka Fatima Haddad) was an Algerian plastic artist of tribal origin. She was born in 1931 in the town of Bordj El-Kiffan. By the age of five, both her parents had died, so she was raised by her grandmother. She never went to school in her life. Instead, Baya worked in ...

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New Texts Out Now: Gulcin Erdi-Lelandais, Understanding the City: Henri Lefebvre and Urban Studies

[Cover of Gülçin Erdi-Lelandais,

Gülçin Erdi-Lelandais, editor, Understanding the City: Henri Lefebvre and Urban Studies. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Gulçin Lelandais (GL): The idea of this book was born during a panel session on Henri Lefebvre at the 2011 Congress of the European Sociological Association, during which researchers from Hungary, the UK, France, and Turkey presented their approaches on Lefebvrian concepts like the right to the city, rhythmanalysis, and the production of space in their empirical research. Since I was working on urban transformation in Turkey, I was very interested in the ideas of Henri ...

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Foucault, Fanon, Intellectuals, Revolutions

[Cover of the Turkish translation of

[This article is the final in a three-part Jadaliyya series that looks at Foucault's work in relationship to the legacy of French colonialism in North Africa. Read the first and second installments here: "The Dangers of Liberalism: Foucault and Postcoloniality in France" by Diren Valayden and "Justifications of Power": Neoliberalism and the Role of Empire by Muriam Haleh Davis.] My theoretical ethic is…“antistrategic”: to be respectful when a singularity revolts, intransigent as soon as power violates the universal. A simple choice, a difficult job: for one must at the same time look closely, a bit beneath ...

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The Dangers of Liberalism: Foucault and Postcoloniality in France

[Foucault:

[This article is the first in a three-part Jadaliyya series that looks at Foucault's work in relationship to the legacy of French colonialism in North Africa.] “For with Napoleon’s occupation of Egypt processes were set in motion between East and West that still dominate our contemporary cultural and political perspectives.” So writes Edward Said in Orientalism regarding the Napoleonic invasion of Egypt in 1798, which he describes as “the very model of a truly scientific appropriation of one culture by another, apparently stronger one.”[1] If we take this as a model of what studies of post/colonialism aspire to, then it is fair to say that colonialism and ...

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موسى أساريد: أربعة نصوص

              -I- روح الصحراء تُفَسّر إحدى الأساطير الرّائعة سببَ بقاء ...

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New Texts Out Now: Mayanthi L. Fernando, The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism

Mayanthi L. Fernando, The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Mayanthi Fernando (MF): When I first went to the field, I imagined a more conventional ethnography of the Islamic revival in France. I was interested in how a French (and more broadly European) context, in which Muslims are a minority, transforms the ritual and hermeneutical practices of the Islamic tradition. I was asking, ...

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More on Laïcité in Historical Context

[This is the first of three responses to Muriam Haleh Davis’ review essay of books by Joan W. Scott, Naomi Davidson, and Mayanthi Fernando. For Naomi Davidson's response, "The Vagaries of Laïcité," click here.] I find Muriam Haleh Davis’ commentary on Charlie Hebdo and French secularism (by way of a review of three books, one of which is mine) to be clear and to the point. Davis insists on the importance of placing in historical context the paradoxical claim that laïcité is a universal ...

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‘A Distinctly French Universalism’: Translating Laïcité after Charlie

Mayanthi L. Fernando, The Republic Unsettled: Muslim French and the Contradictions of Secularism. Durham: Duke University Press, 2014. Naomi Davidson. Only Muslim: Embodying Islam in Twentieth-Century France. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012. Joan Wallach Scott. The Politics of the Veil. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007. It was impossible to avoid the discussion, despite my repeated protests. In Lyon, as in the rest of France, there was nothing else to talk about—especially when I ...

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Charlie Hebdo et les limites de la République

Tout de suite après le massacre aux bureaux de Charlie Hebdo, les commentateurs se sont émus d’une attaque sur « l’Occident et la démocratie » « les valeurs fondamentales de la République française. » Ces valeurs « républicaines » sont invoquées avec unanimité, sans débat, comme si elles étaient d’une origine parfaitement pure. Mieux, les requêtes se multiplient pour exiger des musulmans qu’ils démontrent qu’ils partagent les valeurs sacrées de la laïcité et de la ...

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New Texts Out Now: Edmund Burke III, The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam

Edmund Burke III, The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2014. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book?  Edmund Burke III (EB): Ever since my first book, Prelude to Protectorate in Morocco: Pre-colonial Protest and Resistance, 1860-1912 (1976), I had wanted to write a book about the role of French ethnography in the establishment of the Moroccan protectorate. Unfortunately my career did not go as planned, ...

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A Teenager Contemplates Life and War in the Gaza Strip

Who I Am I am Noor Omar Shaban Ismail, a sixteen year-old teenager who lives and grew up in one of the most dangerous areas in the world, the Gaza Strip. I have only one brother who is studying civil engineering in France. I really hope to follow in his footsteps and become successful to achieve my dreams and goals. My Story The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. It has absolutely no kind of infrastructure and one of the highest rates of people living below the ...

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Kateb Yacine: A Profile from the Archives

[”A Profile from the Archives“ is a series published by Jadaliyya in both Arabic and English in cooperation with the Lebanese newspaper, Assafir. These profiles will feature iconic figures who left indelible marks in the politics and culture of the Middle East and North Africa. This profile was originally published in Arabic and was translated by Mazen Hakeem.] Name: Kateb Last Name: Yacine Date of Birth: 1929 Date of Death: 1989 Place of Birth: Smondo - Constantine Wife’s Name: Zobaida ...

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From the World Cup to the 'Great Replacement': Football and Racist Narratives in France

Football is the greatest of all sports. And yet, despite the beauty of the game, what happens can become so distasteful that it is difficult to continue watching. I cannot help but feel that during the World Cup, a wide coalition of imbeciles is actively plotting to ruin my pleasure. I am not speaking of Luis Suarez and the biting incident but instead of France and Algeria. If you are following the competition, you already know that Algeria qualified for the knockout stage on Thursday night for the first ...

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The Black Box of French History

Andrew Hussey, The French Intifada: The Long War Between France and Its Arabs. London: Granta, 2014. In 2005, a series of disturbing events occurred in France. In February, the parliament attempted to pass a law to force schools to teach “the positive role of French presence overseas, especially in North Africa.” That same autumn, riots erupted in a number of suburbs northeast of Paris, gradually spreading to other French cities and provoking the government to declare a state of emergency that had ...

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'Justifications of Power': Neoliberalism and the Role of Empire

[This article is the second in a three-part Jadaliyya series that looks at Foucault's work in relationship to the legacy of French colonialism in North Africa. Read the first installment here: "The Dangers of Liberalism: Foucault and Postcoloniality in France" by Diren Valayden] “I am like the crawfish and advance sideways.”[1] So Foucault warns us in the Birth of Biopolitics. And indeed, one would need to be an extremely nimble, if not heroic, crawfish to claim that Foucault ...

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The Present Flies, the Past Remains

Le passé [The Past], directed by Asghar Farhadi. France/Italy, 2013. In an interview given last year, Asghar Farhadi, the Iranian filmmaker best known for his Oscar-winning film, A Separation (2011), discussed the influence of theater on his work: “What I tried to take from theater to cinema is that every viewer sees his own movie, and that nothing is imposed to him or her. This means that we cannot see the world with a precise angle. There should always be different angles,” like in theater where ...

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