The UCLA Center for European and Russian Studies (CERS), in co-sponsorship with the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies (CNES), the UCLA Center for the Study of International Migration (CSIM), the UCLA Department of European Languages & Transcultural Studies (ELTS), the European Union Center of California at Scripps College, the French Embassy Center for Excellence at UCLA with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in the United States, organized a book talk with Abdellali Hajjat, the author of The Wretched of France: The 1983 March for Equality and Against Racism. The event will took place on Wednesday, October 26, 2022.
In 1983—as France struggled with race-based crimes, police brutality, and public unrest—youths from Vénissieux (working-class suburbs of Lyon) led the March for Equality and Against Racism, the first national demonstration of its type in France.
As Abdellali Hajjat reveals, the historic March for Equality and Against Racism symbolized for many the experience of the children of postcolonial immigrants. Inspired by the May '68 protests, these young immigrants stood against racist crimes, for equality before the law and the police, and for basic rights such as the right to work and housing. Hajjat also considers the divisions that arose from the march and offers fresh insight into the paradoxes and intricacies of movements pushing toward sweeping social change.
Translated into English for the first time, The Wretched of France contemplates the protest's lasting significance in France as well as its impact within the context of larger and comparable movements for civil rights, particularly in the US.
"In The Wretched of France, Abdellali Hajjat explores the complex interface between historical patterns of racial and social exclusion and marginalization in France and traces the challenging path to political visibility through activism, mobilization, and protest. The book is of utmost relevance to contemporary global conversations about anti-racism, diversity, inclusivity, and multiculturalism and provides invaluable insights into how ethnic mobilization continues to shape calls for individual freedom, equality, and social justice today."
- Dominic Thomas, Professor of French and Francophone Studies, UCLA
Abdellali Hajjat is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Université libre de Bruxelles since 2019. He was Associate Professor of Political Science at the University Paris Nanterre (2010-2019) and EURIAS Junior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (University of Edinburgh). He recently published Islamophobia in France. How the elites forged the “Muslim problem” (University of Georgia Press, 2022, with Marwan Mohammed), The Wretched of France: The 1983 March for Equality and Against Racism (Indiana University Press, 2022) and Les frontières de l’“identité nationale”: l’injonction à l’assimilation en France métropolitaine et coloniale (La Découverte, 2012). His research interests focus on various issues: citizenship and race in French law; urban uprisings and political mobilizations by postcolonial immigrants in France in working-class neighborhoods, particularly in May 68 and afterwards; Islamophobia as a “total social fact”, construction of the “Muslim problem” and redefinition of French secularism; hate crime and criminal justice system; postcolonial controversies in Belgium.
Aomar Boum is a Professor and Maurice Amado Endowed Chair in Sephardic Studies at UCLA Anthropology. Boum is a socio-cultural anthropologist with a historical bent concerned with the social and cultural representation of and political discourse about religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East and North Africa. His ethnographic work engages the place of religious and ethnic minorities such as Jews, Baha’is, Shias and Christians in post-independence Middle Eastern and North African states. My multi-disciplinary background and academic experience are at the intersections of Middle Eastern and North African studies, Islamic studies, Religious studies, African studies and Jewish studies. Much of his work has focused on the anthropology and history of Jewish-Muslim relations from the 19th century to the present. He has also written on different topics such as Moroccan Jewish historiography, Islamic archives and manuscripts, education, music, youth, Holocaust, anti-Semitism, migration, and sports among other things.
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