Immigration in Contemporary France: Literary and Cultural Perspectives

This seminar explores representations of immigration to France in literature and culture, focusing on the topics of responses to French universalism and the choice to write in French as an adopted language. Participants will explore the history of immigration in France from the interwar period until the present day, as well as develop definitions of the many terms linked to migration in the French context: immigrant, émigré, expat, refugee, migrant. We will look at the topic from historical and cultural points of view by focusing on writings by Patrick Weil and Joan Wallach Scott as well as responses to the current refugee crisis. In addition, we will study texts by writers responding to the legacy of French universalism, as well as their paths to take part in the tradition of French literature, including short works by Andreï Makine, Nancy Huston, and Leïla Sebbar. This seminar will offer participants a chance to study responses to the French universalist tradition in the context of histories of immigration in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries in France, drawing parallels and contrasts between issues and responses to immigration in the interwar period and today. ​

Please note this seminar will be conducted in French.