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France

Ici les corps politiques

Alfred Roll – Esquisse – « Le 14 juillet 1880, inauguration du monument à la République » – vers 1881

Place de la République, on se crie «  plus fort ! » « micro !». Ici a lieu la parole, la parole diverse, dissonante, hésitante, lyrique, café du commerce, réfléchie. Depuis le 31 mars la place est jour après jour investie par une parole citoyenne. Des voix qui s’élèvent des quatre coins de la place, des chants, des cris, des slogans, des bêtises, des vers, des jeux de mots, des voix assurées, des voix qui s’éteignent, qui bafouillent, qui se brisent, qui vrillent, partent dans les aigus. C’est de cette réappropriation collective du langage que naît un réel espace public. L’occupation de la place permet à la foule amassée d’imposer sa présence ...

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Kamel Daoud: Sexual Demonization and the Secularist Select

(Y. Gastaut,

In a controversial NYT op-ed, the Algerian journalist and prize-winning author Kamel Daoud weighed in on the infamous events of last New Year’s Eve in Cologne, Germany. He wrote of the sexual harassment and rape authored by Muslim migrants and refugees as symptoms of a “sick” relationship with sex and women in general, and that this “disease” was now spreading to Western lands. This spectacular episode of sexual violence had managed to turn what had been general sympathy for refugees fleeing terrorism into anger, fear, and hatred. A large group of men had congregated at Cologne’s central train station before breaking off into smaller groups to commit robberies and sexual ...

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« Les organisations policières se trouvent en position de force » entretien avec Emmanuel Blanchard

[Image d'un véhicule de police à Toulouse. Image par Mic/Flickr]

[Emmanuel Blanchard est historien, spécialiste des pratiques policières en situation coloniale. Il est également engagé de longue date dans la défense des droits des étrangers en France et dans l'Union Européenne. Il a accepté de s'entretenir avec Jadaliyya au sujet de la sécuritisation des politiques migratoires européennes, de l'instauration de l'état d'urgence en France, des dimensions sociales et raciales de la répression, et du renforcement du poids de la police.] Thomas Serres (TS) : Donc cela fait près de vingt ans que tu milites pour défendre les droits des étrangers et la liberté de circulation[1], qu'est-ce que tu penses de l'évolution de la situation au cours ...

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A Moveable Feast? Reflections on the French Coverage of the Paris Attacks

[Image of the Eiffel Tower illuminated with the Tricolor following the Paris attacks. Image by Passion Leica/Flickr]

Writing on the relationship between acts of terror and the mystification of liberalism in 1947, Maurice Merleau-Ponty wrote that, “cunning, violence, propaganda, and realpolitik” appeared “in the guise of liberal principles” and were “the substance of foreign or colonial politics, and even of domestic politics.” [1] He was not writing about religious fanatics, but he was rather concerned with another specter that once faced Europe: Communism. Unlike the Cold War, if France is indeed “at war,” one is at a loss to characterize what kind of war it is, or against whom it will be fought. Perhaps we are in what Jean Baudrillard categorized as a “Fourth World War,” in which the ...

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New Texts Out Now: Jeanette S. Jouili, Pious Practice and Secular Constraints: Women in the Islamic Revival in Europe

[Cover of Jeanette S. Jouili,

Jeanette S. Jouili, Pious Practice and Secular Constraints: Women in the Islamic Revival in Europe. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press 2015. Jadaliyya (J): What made you write this book? Jeanette Jouili (JJ): I began research for this book in 2002, the year after 9/11. The global impact of that event was made evident in Europe as the media and European scholars increasingly scrutinized the activities and affiliations of young European-born Muslims, many of whom were adopting more visible and orthodox forms of Islamic practice. At the heart of the debate lay the question of whether this trend toward increased piety was compatible with Europe's secular, liberal values. ...

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Daoud’s Camus Fanfiction Is More of the Same

Kamel Daoud, The Meursault Investigation. Translated by John Cullen. New York: Other Press 2015. Algerian journalist Kamel Daoud’s debut novel The Meursault Investigation, recently translated into English, retells the story of Albert Camus’s The Stranger from the point of view of Harun, the brother of the unnamed Arab that Camus's hero, Meursault, murders. The Meursault Investigation has garnered great praise in American media, sparking multiple articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, and New Yorker. The portrait we are left with in all of these profiles is the same: Daoud is a brave writer, taking Camus to task for his blind spots (while still paying ...

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Olivier Roy on Laicite as Ideology, the Myth of 'National Identity' and Racism in the French Republic

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]

Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, Professor Olivier Roy, Head of the Mediterranean Program at the European University Institute discusses the development of the concept of laicite in France, from its emergence as a tool for the management of diversity, to its rebranding as an ideology of exclusion. In this interview, he questions the notion of national identity as a politicized concept and identifies a profound crisis of identity at its root. He also outlines the double-bind faced by French Muslims, called at once to hide their faith, but then speak as representatives of it during periods of crisis, thus leaving them open to accusations of communalism. Roy calls for a ...

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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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الإرث الفكري لفرانز فانون

تُوُفّيَ فرانز فانون قبل أشهر قليلة من استقلال الجزائر في شهر يوليو عام 1962، ولم يعش ليرى بنفسه تحرر بلده بالتبني من الهيمنة الاستعمارية الفرنسية، وهو شيء كان يعتقد أنه أصبح أمرًا حتميًا. وكان هذا المفكر الراديكالي والثوري قد كرّس نفسه وجسده وروحه للتحرر الوطني الجزائري، وكان يُعَدّ مرآة من خلالها فهِم عدد كبير من الثوريين الموجودين في الخارج الجزائر ، وأحد الأسباب التي ساهمت في أن تصبح البلاد مرادفًا لثورات العالم الثالث. وبفضل ثِقَل نضالها في الماضي القريب، وعلى وجه الخصوص نضالها الطويل لنيل ...

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The Fantasies of Kamel Daoud

[This collective letter, translated by Muriam Haleh Davis, was originally a response to Kamel Daoud’s piece, “Cologne, lieu de fantasmes,” in which he purports to analyze the allegations of sexual violence committed by refugees in Germany that occurred on New Year’s Eve. Both articles – Daoud’s piece and the collective response – appeared in the French newspaper Le Monde on the 31 January and 11 February, respectively. Subsequent to their publication, German investigations have shown that most of the ...

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A Muslim Future to Come?

[This article was first published on Public Books.]  Michel Houellebecq, Submission. Translated from the French by Lorin Stein. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2015. The devastating attacks of 13 November on Paris’s tenth and eleventh arrondissements viciously targeted the “progressive” heart of the city. When I am there, that is where I live. Like many other inhabitants and observers, I find it difficult to comprehend why the militants assaulted this historically working-class, ...

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Terror Everywhere, Humanity Nowhere

It would surely be more reasonable to wait a few weeks and let the emotions subside. This is what decency and reason require. As a Parisian at heart, I would rather stay quiet. Unfortunately, falcons and fascists, wolves and warmongers, jackals and ministers are not bound by such scruples. They did not wait for the bodies to be buried or the tears to be dried before they started shouting their outrage. Now they call for a strong retaliation, for the closure of borders, for a new round of heavy-handed ...

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Terreur partout, humanité nulle part

Il serait sans doute plus raisonnable d'attendre quelques semaines afin de laisser passer l'émotion. C'est ce que la décence et la raison demandent. Je suis parisien de cœur, et je préférerais me taire. Malheureusement, les faucons et les fascistes, les loups et les va-t-en-guerre, les chacals et les ministres ne s'embarrassent pas de scrupules. Ils n'ont pas attendu que les corps soient en terre, et que les larmes soient sèches, pour commencer leurs vociférations. Ils appellent à la riposte ...

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France Decorates a Moroccan Facing Justice on Bastille Day: A Portrait of Abdellatif Hammouchi

Despite objections from human rights organizations in Morocco and France, on 23 June 2015, the National French Assembly adopted a bill that requires judges to refer legal complaints regarding criminal acts committed in Morocco to Moroccan justice. This would also include cases in which French citizens were subjected to acts of torture. The Senate will ratify this decision on 15 July 2015. This ratification comes a little over a year after the French justice system began raising questions about the head ...

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Illicit Sex in Ottoman and French Algeria: An Interview with Aurelie Perrier

The association of the Arab world with Western sexual fantasy figured prominently in the artwork and literature that was critiqued so famously by Edward Said in Orientalism. Yet beyond the fantasies embedded in Delacroix’s paintings of odalisques, what did sex actually mean in nineteenth-century Algeria? In Ottoman History Podcast #188, Aurelie Perrier begins to answer this question. Building on the groundbreaking work of scholars like Malek Alloula and Christelle Taraud, her research explores the ...

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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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