French Civilization And Its Discontents

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Overview

What happens when the study of French is no longer coterminous with the study of France? French Civilization and Its Discontents explores the ways in which considerations of difference, especially colonialism, postcolonialism, and race, have shaped French culture and French studies in the modern era. Rejecting traditional assimilationist notions of French national identity, contributors to this groundbreaking volume demonstrate how literature, history, and other aspects of what is considered French civilization have been shaped by global processes of creolization and differentiation. This book ably demonstrates the necessity of studying France and the Francophone world together, and of recognizing not only the presence of France in the Francophone world but also the central place occupied by the Francophone world in world literature and history.

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Editorial Reviews

International Journal Of Francophone Studies
France', comment the editors of this volume, 'is of course, not what it used to be'; the French language itself is 'something much more protean, changeable, and diverse, something able to cross linguistic and cultural boundaries'. Reacting to these observations, Tyler Stovall and Georges van den Abeelee have brought together in this volume a fascinating collection of essays. Their contributors contribute to the increasingly urgent task of addressing the transformations of the French studies caused by postcolonialism and the growing popularity of francophone subjects.
— Charles Forsdick, University of Liverpool
Journal of Modern History
This volume's broad thematic, geographic, and interdisciplinary reach should attract readers not only among the scholars of French colonialism but also those concerned more generally with colonial legacies and the postcolonial condition. The essays collected here extend across a rich analytic terrain at the intersection of French cultural studies and francophone postcoloniality. A brief review does not afford sufficient space to give these sophisticated interventions - which include theoretical analyses, close readings of cultural texts, and historiographical case studies - the attention they deserve.
Françoise Lionnet
This is a superb collection. The elegant introduction presents the current situation of French and Francophone studies with icy clarity and should become required reading. The contributors add original interdisciplinary perspectives on intellectual and cultural history, race and gender, cinema and architecture, the Caribbean, the Maghreb, and Belgium. No one working in French studies can afford to ignore this book.
Tom Conley
French Civilization and Its Discontents is a rich mosaic of French and Francophone studies in the world at large. The editors take a strong critical view both of French universalism and of the civilizing mission that had marked its colonial ambitions. They show admirably how the nation is being renewed where it folds practices that had been outside of itself into the textures of contemporary life. The book is rich, variegated, and compelling. It will further galvanize our commitment to French and Francophone studies.
Kristin Ross
With great authority, French Civilization and Its Discontents shows why, at this moment, it is scholars outside France who are best situated to perceive the compelling political and cultural transversals that allow French history and that of the Francophone world to be thought together.
David Theo Goldberg
This is simply the most comprehensive and compelling collection on these intersecting themes. It is bound to reconfigure French cultural studies and post/colonial histories.
Henry A. Giroux
History doesn't stand still and French Civilization and Its Discontents provides a brilliant examination of how the state of France along with its culture, language, literature has exercised a powerful and complex influence both within and outside of its borders. This book challenges traditional notions about French history, its intellectual legacy, and its importance for a wide variety of subjects and disciplines. Stovall and Van Den Abbeele both deepen and expand the importance of interdisciplinary studies and in doing so open up new ground for understanding the landscape of global politics, and its intersection with the politics of difference and the legacy of the nation. This book should be read by both students of French civilization and everybody else interested in culture, identity, and global politics.
Joan W. Scott
At last a book that challenges the myth of French universalism. French Civilization and its Discontents exposes the workings of an assimilationist culture that has long refused to recognize the ways in which difference has in fact shaped its national identity. These essays make a strong case for accounting the ways in which colonialism, immigration, and race have been repressed in the construction of the myth of a unified, homogeneous "France." They offer an analytic model which deconstructs the oppositions between France and its 'others,' center and periphery, metropole and colonial outpost—oppositions which have sustained inequality and discrimination for too long.
Darcy Grimaldo Grigsby
French Civilization and its Discontents is remarkable for the scope and urgency of its political as well as scholarly intervention. This provocative collection of essays convinces us that the Francophone world has exerted pressure upon the metropole not only from without but also from within. The book's most refreshing aspects are the largeness of vision and its refusal to speak solely of the past: French civilization's discontents determine the present and they will also determine the future of France, the Francophone world and the French language.
International Journal Of Francophone Studies - Charles Forsdick
'France', comment the editors of this volume, 'is of course, not what it used to be'; the French language itself is 'something much more protean, changeable, and diverse, something able to cross linguistic and cultural boundaries'. Reacting to these observations, Tyler Stovall and Georges van den Abeelee have brought together in this volume a fascinating collection of essays. Their contributors contribute to the increasingly urgent task of addressing the transformations of the French studies caused by postcolonialism and the growing popularity of francophone subjects.
Journal Of Modern History
This volume's broad thematic, geographic, and interdisciplinary reach should attract readers not only among the scholars of French colonialism but also those concerned more generally with colonial legacies and the postcolonial condition. The essays collected here extend across a rich analytic terrain at the intersection of French cultural studies and francophone postcoloniality. A brief review does not afford sufficient space to give these sophisticated interventions - which include theoretical analyses, close readings of cultural texts, and historiographical case studies - the attention they deserve.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Tyler Stovall is the author of France Since the Second World War (2002), Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light (1996), and The Rise of the Paris Red Belt (1990). He is Professor of History at the University of California, Berkeley. Georges Van Den Abbeele, author ofTravel as Metaphor: From Montaigne to Rousseau (1992) and translator of Jean-François Lyotard's major works, is Director of the Davis Humanities Institute and Professor of French and Italian at the University of California, Davis.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 The Intelligentsia and New Conceptions of French Identity Chapter 2 The Marginality of Michel de Certeau Chapter 3 Disorienting Le Corbusier: Charles Edouard Jeanneret's 1911 Voyage d'Orient Chapter 4 France in the Wilderness Chapter 5 Opacity in the Films of Claire Denis Part 6 Black Diaspora and Créolisation Chapter 7 The French Language in the Face of Creolization Chapter 8 Kojève and Fanon: the Desire for Recognition and the Fact of Blackness Chapter 9 Historically Particular Uses of a Universal Subject Chapter 10 For a Caribbean Intertext: On Some Readings of Maryse Condé's Crossing the Mangrove Chapter 11 "Hereditary Antagonism": Race and Nation in Maurice Casseus's Viejo Part 12 Orientalism and the Maghrebian Presence in Post-Colonial France Chapter 13 Nationalism, Colonialism, and Ethnic Discourse in the Construction of French Identity Chapter 14 French Identity, Islam, and North Africans: Colonial Legacies, Post-Colonial Realities Chapter 15 Social Dynamics in Colonial Algeria: The Question of Pieds-Noirs Identity Chapter 16 Remembering the Jews of Algeria Part 17 Miscegenation, Degeneration, and other Metropolitan Anxieties Chapter 18 Decadence/Degeneration/Créolité:Rachilde's La Jongleuse Chapter 18 Love, Labor, and Race: Colonial Men and White Women in France during the Great War Chapter 20 The Children of Belgium

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