In the 1740s, Bordeaux developed some of the first modern theories of racial difference, even as the city profited from the slave trade.
Can You Feel It? “Happening” and Sensory Cinema
A new film centers on a young, unmarried woman’s attempts to secure an abortion—over a decade before France legalized the practice in 1973.
Why Does France Think Migration Is Growing?
Teach the history of colonization and decolonization—for this is the best antidote to the venom of exclusion and racism that threatens France.
Are There “Good-Enough” Feminists?
The way women practice feminism differs between Quebec and France, especially in how they welcome—or don’t—Muslim women.
Sembène’s “Black Girl” Is a Ghost Story
Few know the film—the first feature-length film by a West African director—was based on a real-life incident, a real tragedy lost in colonial archives.
France and the Question of Consent
Two memoirs trenchantly critique the ways in which France has framed sexual consent, legally and culturally, since the 1970s.
How War—and Racism—Makes Monsters out of Men
In both World Wars, France used West African “colonial conscripts.” Deployed on the front lines, they were often the first to be killed.
The Long Road to a New Ideology: Piketty on Trump, Democrats, and Inequality
“We need to have both the reparation and the universal perspective on economic justice.”
What Does a “Click” Count For?
In the digital world, metrics mean everything. But who interprets just what they mean changes across organizations, countries, and cultures.
Who’s Afraid of Antiracism?
By France’s twisted logic, acknowledging race equals attacking the Republic.
Leïla Slimani’s Taboos
Franco-Moroccan writer Leïla Slimani reveals the dirty underside of bourgeois domesticity. Is her taboo breaking worthy of praise?
Transparency Alone Can’t Save Democracy
The institutions created to ensure transparency in the funding of politics find it difficult to carry out their mission.
Democracy Distorted: Money and Politics
Is it really the case, as is often alleged, that money decides everything about elections? And if so, in what ways?
The Criminal’s City
In a recent French novel, an ordinary woman inadvertently becomes a drug kingpin—and does so by learning to see anew Paris’s urban landscape.
The Floating Park: Parc de Belleville, Paris
“It is rare, on a summer evening in Paris, to find this sort of quiet along with the sensation of having the city at your feet.”
Can Photography Be Decolonial?
Can the inherent contradictions of “whiteness” and the “decolonial” ever align with the reparative potential of photography?
A Man in Brussels
Storytelling about the European Union tends to be done by those aggressively disinterested in its survival. Isn’t that a problem?
What distinguishes the American from the European intellectual? Does that matter?
“Am I Not One of the ‘Disappeared’?”
Zahia Rahmani’s « Musulman » roman hinges on a question that has gathered force in recent years: a witness is speaking, but will she ever be heard?
Inside and Out in Paris and France
A year ago I was a recent college grad living in Toulouse, in southern France. My generous host family ...