Rethinking Race, the Colonial and the Postcolonial in Contemporary France

Keynote: Elijah Anderson (Yale University) “Black in White Space”

Rethinking Race, the Colonial and the Postcolonial in Contemporary France

at the University of Chicago Center in Paris

6, rue Thomas Mann, 75013 Paris

or on  ZOOM click to register

December 13-15, 2022

Organized by: Leora Auslander (University of Chicago), Abdellali Hajjat (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Silyane Larcher (CNRS / IRIS) et Lionel Zevounou (Université Paris Nanterre)


Tuesday, December 13


I.               13.30-15.30: Welcome, Introduction and Keynote Lecture

 Welcome: Salikoko S. Mufwene

Introduction:  Abdellali Hajjat, Silyane Larcher, Lionel Zevounou & Leora Auslander

Keynote: Elijah Anderson (Yale University)

“Black in White Space”


II.             Race and Coloniality: Thinking regimes of racialization beyond the comparison of France and the US 

Chair: Abdellali Hajjat (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

Part I: 15.45-17.15

Claude-Olivier Doron (Université de Paris Diderot)

“Why should we radically historicize the category of ‘race’? Places and displacements of the category of race in various regimes of socio-political distinction”

Daphné Bédinadé (EHESS)

“Operationalization of Race in France and Brazil: the Case of Racial Markers in the Context of the Beauty Market and the Cosmetics Industry”

Respondent: Miranda Spieler (American University in Paris)


Part II: 17.30-19.30

Irène Dos Santos (CNRS)

“Elements for thinking about the racial question and racism in contemporary Portugal”

Chikako Mori (Doshisha University, Kyoto)

“‘Black Lives Muttered’: The Black Condition and its Changes in Contemporary Japan”

Respondent: Waverly Duck (University of California, Santa Barbara)


Wednesday, December 14


III.           Genesis and Implementation of Anti-racist legislation

Chair: Joyce Bell (University of Chicago)


Part I: 9.00-11.00

Sunita Memetovic & Mathias Möschel (Central European University)

“Using fundamental rights to challenge racist anti-Roma begging prohibitions”

Anne-Charlotte Martineau (Université Paris Nanterre)

“Reparations for Colonial Crimes in Times When “Black Life Matters””

Respondent: Angela Koczé (Central European University)


Part II: 11.15-13.15

Lionel Zevounou (Université Paris Nanterre)

“The Case of Moroccan Workers at the SNCF (1970-2018): A Racial Discrimination that Does Not Say its Name”

Christopher Gevers (KwaZulu-Natal University)

“Re-thinking race in International Law”

Respondent:  Mikhaïl Xifaras (Sciences Po)


Lunch at the Center


IV.           The Reception of Intersectionality: Political/activist uses, academic uses 

Chair: Leora Auslander (University of Chicago)


Part I: 14.30-16.30

Myriam Paris (CNRS)

 “The intersectional approach in an academic trajectory in France”

 Jennifer Anne Boittin (Pennsylvania State University)

““Wishing, with All Our French Heart, to Be and Remain French:” Senegalese Women and the 1944 Suffrage Ordinance”

Respondent: Isabelle Clair (CNRS)


Part II: 16.45-18.45

 Evelia Mayenga (Université de Paris Sorbonne)

“French Translations of Intersectionality. Race, Academia, and Intellectual Profits”

Fania Noël (New School of Social Research)

“Paris Is Burning: location and circulation of intersectionality in France”

Respondent: Jules Falquet (Paris 8)


Thursday, December 15


V.             The race question in the Academy: racialized academics and the production of knowledge 

Chair: Omar McRoberts (University of Chicago)


Part I: 9.00-11.00

Christelle Hamel (Institut National des Etudes Démographiques & CNRS)

“University staff facing racist discrimination in France”

Abdellali Hajjat (Université Libre de Bruxelles) 

“Safe or violent space? Understanding students’ experiences of racism in France”

Respondent: Marwan Mohammed (CNRS)


Part II: 11.15-13.15

Thomas Holt (University of Chicago)

“Alienated Scholars: How African American Scholars Adapted Racially Segregated Spaces for Racial Critique during the Inter-war Decades”

Dounia Bourabain (University of Hasselt)

“Gendered Racism in the Ivory Tower: the struggles and the resistance”

Respondent: Omar McRoberts (University of Chicago)


Lunch at the Center


VI. Conclusion



Round-table discussions among participants about ways forward.