Disrupting Whiteness in Contemporary France A Radical, Multifaceted and Intersectional Approach to (De)Constructing French Identity
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This dissertation aims at making visible the pervasiveness of white supremacy in contemporary France. In order to do so, I deconstruct French national identity by critically engaging with the French Republic’s universalist and colorblind stance. In the first section, I take stock of France’s knowledge production on questions of identity, identifying problems in the conflation of race with immigration studies and noticing the relative absence of racial studies. In the second section, I consider the ways in which the French education system is an ideological apparatus of forceful inclusion by analyzing issues of knowledge production and destruction within the French education system. In the third section, I discuss the racialization of religion in France and historicize the concept of laïcité, France's word for its brand of secularism, in order to show how it has become a technology to oppress Muslims and perceived Muslims in France. In the fourth section, I am focused on issues of representation, recognition and state antiracism in France, questioning and historicizing the French colorblind antiracist institutions through an analysis of two critically acclaimed films, Intouchables and Bande de filles. In the last section, I look at the place of language in the construction of French identity. I discuss how it became such an essential aspect of French identity by looking at its colonial context, and I address what that context might mean for non-white, non-heteronormative contemporary French speakers.