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Reproducing the French Race: Immigration, Intimacy, and Embodiment in the Early 20th Century

A book talk with author Elisa Camiscioli (Binghamton University, History).

In "Reproducing the French Race," Elisa Camiscioli argues that immigration was a defining feature of early-twentieth-century France, and she examines the political, cultural, and social issues implicated in public debates about immigration and national identity at the time. Camiscioli demonstrates that mass immigration provided politicians, jurists, industrialists, racial theorists, feminists, and others with ample opportunity to explore questions of French racial belonging, France's relationship to the colonial empire and the rest of Europe, and the connections between race and national anxieties regarding depopulation and degeneration. She also shows that discussions of the nation and its citizenry consistently returned to the body: its color and gender, its expenditure of labor power, its reproductive capacity, and its experience of desire. Of paramount importance was the question of which kinds of bodies could assimilate into the "French race."

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