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Muslims Only as Muslims: Embodiment, Religion and Race in the French Mediterranean

Thursday, January 26, 2012
12:00 AM
RLL Commons, 4th floor, MLB

Abstract: Debates about racial and religious diversity in contemporary France have tended to center around the principle of secularism, or laïcité. It is often argued that Muslims in France have been offered a place in the secular model but have refused it. This talk explores the complicated history of these debates and the porousness of these categories of difference by examining the Islam imagined by French and North African Muslim leaders in the early 20th century. I will demonstrate that this vision of Islam -- with embodiment at its core --ultimately made it impossible for France’s colonial subjects to ever be anything other than Muslim. Bio: Naomi Davidson is an assistant professor in History at the U of Ottawa; she got her PhD in History from the U of Chicago in 2007. She works on French perceptions of Muslim immigrants and has a book in press, Muslims Only as Muslims (Cornell UP). Her research languages are French, Arabic and Hebrew, and she is working on a second project involving Jews and Arabs in France and in the French Mediterranean
Speaker:
Naomi Davidson