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« Une et divisible ? »

Plural Identities in Modern France

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Edited By Barbara Lebrun and Jill Lovecy

This book offers a selection of the papers presented at the 2008 annual conference of the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (ASMCF), with chapters focusing on regional formation, European policy, the cultural landscape of Paris, the place of Maghrebi artists in popular music, the evolution of cultural policy regarding ‘popular’ culture, and filmic and novelised representations of desire, ethnicity and nationality.
Guided by postcolonial critique, this book takes as its starting point the recognition of multiple identities in modern and contemporary France, despite (and against) the traditional republican emphasis on national unification and the relegation of notions of ethnicity, sexuality and cultural difference to the so-called private sphere. While many publications have engaged with this topic, few juxtapose social and political issues with cultural approaches. This edited volume, by contrast, incorporates the work of specialists drawn from a broad range of academic disciplinary areas, including history, politics, literature and cultural studies, and shows how perceptions of the self and of the other as French have changed over the years, with an emphasis on the contemporary period (post-1945).

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Part 2 - (Popular) Cultural Studies 115

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Part 2 (Popular) Cultural Studies Keith Reader Cultural Topography: A New Growth Area? The question of why I have chosen to work on the history – or, better, histories – of the Bastille/faubourg Saint-Antoine area of Paris poses the broader question of the place of cultural topography in the world not only of French studies, but of the academy and publishing in general. My working definition of cultural topography is that it involves the mapping of cultural change in a given area, with a particular focus on its reproduc- tion across a variety of literary, historical, cinematic and other texts. That this is a field of increasing interest is not in doubt; since Lewis Mumford’s The City in History almost half a century ago, the modern and contempo- rary city (I use those adjectives in their French senses) has become widely recognised as a significant object of study. In recent years Peter Ackroyd’s London: The Biography, Andrew Hussey’s Paris: The Secret History and, on a significantly more modest scale, the published proceedings of conferences organised at Glasgow by Bill Marshall comparing Glasgow and Montreal and my work on the cultural topography of Paris have attested to that, and Nick Hewitt is putting the finishing touches on a book on Montmartre which will develop his earlier piece in French Cultural Studies compar- ing and contrasting Montmartre and its frère ennemi Montparnasse. The attraction of this area lies most evidently, not to say most importantly, in its chronological and interdisciplinary reach. It is...

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