From France in the Arab World to the Arab World in France Winter 2023

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Class Details

This course will introduce racism in Europe by focusing on France. In addition to its colonial history, France organized a labor immigration after WWII as an economic policy. One of the results of this legacy and policy was the migration of people from Arab, Amazigh or Muslim cultures, most notably from the Maghreb. They formed one of the largest immigrant populations in the mid 70s and today they are one of the main targets of racism in France. Through a historical review of the social and economic transformation of these immigrants and their descendants from labor migrants to Arabs, and later Muslims, this course will examine the French construction of race and racism. We will therefore read influential media intellectuals who produce a narrative supporting racism. We will also discuss the following questions: What is a race? What is racism? How anti-Muslim racism works in France? What are its manifestations in economics, sociology and politics? How does racism interact with sexism? Can the French situation be extended to Europe and what parallels can be found between “Islamophobia” in Europe and “Hispanophobia” in the US? To address these questions, we will read a selection of texts by antiracist organic intellectuals, such as the Franco-Algerian sociologist Abdelmalek Sayad, and Maghrebi thinkers like Fatima Mernissi, among others. We will also watch movies by Mahmoud Zemmouri and Leïla Sy, alongside a selection of rap videoclips by various artists (Karima Khelifi, Saliha, Sorah, etc). In addition, we will reflect on current public debates and media analysis concerning the banning of the veil, the separatism law and laïcité. All readings will be in English, but if a student is fluent in French, they will be provided with additional readings in French if they are interested.
The Class: Format: lecture
Limit: 20
Expected: NA
Class#: 1050
Grading: pass/fail only
Requirements/Evaluation: 10-page paper
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: If overenrolled, letter of preference. Otherwise no selection preferences.
Unit Notes: Souhail Chichah is an independent scholar and a public intellectual. His current research examines the anthropology of modernity and the genealogy of racism.
Attributes: STUX Winter Study Student Exploration

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