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The introduction situates the relationship between race and the aesthetic in the context of the recent debates on the topic of race in France. It makes the case for a renewed attention to the aesthetic processes at work in the construction of racial identities. To this end, it proposes to investigate both how sense perception has been harnessed to facilitate racialization, and how racial categories have shaped aesthetic judgment.

IN NOVEMBER 2018, a group of eighty French intellectuals including well-known figures such as Alain Finkielkraut and and Élisabeth Badinter published an open letter in the weekly Le point, calling on French universities, cultural institutions, and legal authorities to put an end to the “intellectual terrorism” of decolonialism. For the signatories, the growing presence of concepts such as “race,” “racisation” (racialization), and “racisé.e.s” (racialized) in intellectual debates and academic research is a dangerous phenomenon. The terms “racisation” and “racisé.e.s” are usually used to avoid naturalizing racial categories, and to stress instead the cultural, social, and political processes through which these identities emerge. The letter considered that the terms nonetheless legitimize the notion of race and corrupt the emancipatory ideals of liberty and universality. The French Republic, the signatories argued, is constructed on a model in which every citizen—regardless of sex, sexual orientation or skin color—is granted universal rights.1

The controversy encapsulates France’s persistent difficulty in addressing the topic of race and the effects of racism on French culture and society. In recent years, a growing number of political activists, historians, and social scientists have argued that the official absence of race from public discourse has obscured its political and social effects. Many of them refer to 2005 as a turning point.2 That year saw violent riots in the French banlieues, following the deaths of two teenagers, Bouna Traoré and Zyed Benna, during a police chase. There was, moreover, a heated national controversy over proposed legislation that would have mandated schools to teach “the positive role of colonization” (le rôle positif de la colonisation). Finally, it was also in 2005 that two activist organizations that place race and the notion of systemic racism at the heart of their discourses were founded: the Indigènes de la République and the CRAN (Conseil Représentatif des Associations Noires).

So far, history and the social sciences are the main fields of inquiry that have produced arguments about race in France. This genealogy is in marked contrast with British and American scholarship, where literary studies have played a key role in probing the interconnections between colonial domination and cultural representations, particularly in the field of postcolonial studies. Some recent initiatives, however, have started to theorize the role of artistic, literary, and filmic production in French discussions on race. For example, [End Page 1] the manifesto Décolonisons les arts (2018) brings together a number of artists and thinkers to offer reflections and testimonies on the role of racism in the arts.3 Many of the contributors consider their artistic practice as a means of changing social and cultural representations and, in so doing, of facilitating the abolition of racialized structures of domination.4 Others, like Amandine Gay, are keen to emphasize the significance of the aesthetic in their artistic practice, deploring the tendency of critics to read their works purely as pedagogical or activist productions on racism.5 The diverse contributions to Décolonisons les arts reveal a wide range of models and beliefs concerning what role the aesthetic can play in today’s discourses on race. Our special issue of L’Esprit Créateur seeks to illuminate further the perspectives on race afforded by the aesthetic, this time from the critic’s perspective. By focusing on the aesthetic, we will emphasize the role perception, appearance, and the imagination play in the social construction of racial categories.

Such a turn to the aesthetic may seem surprising given how the history of aesthetics is tightly bound up with the emergence of racial thinking. As David Bindman has shown, eighteenth-century constructions of aesthetic hierarchies provided the visual template after which the racial hierarchies of the nineteenth-century were modelled.6 Petrus Camper, for example, organized living creatures from those he regarded as the most beautiful (the Grecian profile) to the least appealing (apes), and placed Africans somewhere in the middle, ranking them behind European faces. In the following decades, these aesthetic hierarchies were solidified into biological categories. Physiognomy and phenotype were increasingly taken as evidence of innate racial character differences. Furthermore, races were sorted according not only to their appearance, but also to their perceived capacity for aesthetic experience and taste. In addition to organizing human types into ‘races,’ the category of the aesthetic was therefore used to reinforce the alleged inferiority of non-white subjects.7

Our engagement with the interconnections between race and the aesthetic takes into account this intellectual history. This special issue specifically addresses the complicity between race and aesthetics by approaching them both as perceptual fields that have mutually shaped each other. Our contributors reflect on how sense perception has been harnessed to facilitate racialization, and on how racial categories have enabled—or foreclosed—the emergence of specific forms of aesthetic perception. For this reason, we privilege an approach to the aesthetic that is closely connected to the term’s original frame of reference. Instead of referring solely to matters of beauty, the Greek term aesthesis originally expressed a broad concern with sensory experience and its effects on the mind. We connect this understanding to Jacques Rancière’s [End Page 2] notion of le partage du sensible, which is “the delimitation of spaces and times, of the visible and the invisible, of speech and noise, that simultaneously determines the place and the stakes of politics as a form of experience.”8 Thus the aesthetic encompasses not only artistic categories or modes but also the regime of sensory experience that underpins the perception—and production—of cultural objects, along with the subject positions associated with that regime. These positions include the senses and proprioception, the corporeal schema (gestures, posture, speech, and movement), and affective modes like laughter and disgust. Our focus on the aesthetic as a sensorial regime is intended to contribute to long-standing debates about the aesthetic representation of race. Rather than accept race as a pre-given materiality that art, literature, and other cultural forms portray, this special issue interrogates how race takes on a perceptible reality in the sensorial field. Our concern for the aesthetic thus brings into dialogue discourses about race as a social and political signifier with the perceptual structures that organize and regulate racial difference.

The limited interest in the aesthetic in contemporary French reflections on race is problematic because it leaves aside one of the key phenomena at the heart of racism: the way in which the perception of race is mediated and reinforced through sense perception, and the role cultural representations and experiences play in shaping these perceptions. Such a reflection is particularly necessary for the practice of criticism: without a better understanding of how our own modes of interpretation may be enmeshed in racialized frames of perception, we risk reproducing racialized aesthetic hierarchies and modes of exclusion. Strengthening our understanding of the relationship between race and the aesthetic is therefore crucial, both to ensure that literary and visual studies do not simply reflect hegemonic racial discourses, and in order to clarify the workings of racism and racialization more generally.

As many of the articles presented in this special issue suggest, the ‘visibility’ of physical difference, which constitutes the cornerstone of racial taxonomies, is itself culturally situated and historically contingent. These aspects have received significant attention in Critical Race Studies, where critics have harnessed the potentialities of the aesthetic to scrutinize the production of racial difference.9 The majority of this scholarship, however, focuses on British or U.S. culture. Our collective inquiry stems instead from an awareness that probing the aesthetic production of racial visibility calls for attentive engagement with the history and context from which those perceptions emerge. If our contributors question the reluctance of French intellectuals to confront the issue of race, they are also wary of simply transferring a conceptual apparatus [End Page 3] elaborated in the United States to discuss the French context. As Lia Brozgal reminds us in her contribution, “color-blindness,” the very term used in Anglo-phone scholarship (including in the present volume) to describe France’s attachment to a universalist figure of the citizen conceived in abstract terms, has no direct equivalent in French. It carries with it an understanding of the relationship between race and the visual that is connected to the United States’ specific history of racial oppression and segregation.

The issue is not only one of semantics. While the U.S. conceptualization of race and visuality has been largely connected to the enslavement of African populations, it is difficult to understand how race operates in French culture without also engaging with the role of colonialism, as well as with that of antisemitism and the history of Jews in France. Many of the French Revolutionary thinkers who conceived of universal citizenship, for instance, saw the Jews as the limit case for that model.10 If Jews, characterized by the most corporate of identities, were capable of becoming universal citizens then that proved the viability of the Republican project.11 As Pierre Birnbaum has argued, “leur entrée dans l’espace public, qui les transforme en citoyens, est conforme à la logique d’un État dont les principes universalistes impliquent la disparition de tous les particularismes.”12 Jewish assimilation was thus predicated upon their divesting themselves of the outward signs of particularity— upon their becoming invisible. At the same time, as the Dreyfus Affair of the late nineteenth century and the Vichy period reveal, Jews remained racialized subjects in French culture. Indeed, during the Dreyfus Affair, antisemitic anxieties centered on the notion that Jews had become indistinguishable from the rest of the population.13 The case of Jews in France thus introduces a relationship between race and visibility that differs from the attention paid in U.S. Critical Race Studies to the distinct visibility of racial hierarchies and difference. Comparably, addressing the specificity of French perceptions of race requires us to pay attention to what Étienne Balibar has described as the emergence of a “racism without races” since the 1980s.14 “Racism without races” refers to the gradual replacement of concepts of racial difference based on biological racism with a reified notion of cultural identity, which leads to new forms of essentialization. In today’s France, these developments play out, for example, in the increasing racialization of Islam in public discourse and daily life, as well as in the management of refugee populations.

The terminological and institutional challenges raised by the study of race at the intersections of French and Anglophone scholarship are therefore central to this special issue’s first three articles. Lia Brozgal addresses the crucial question of whether U.S. Critical Race Theory can be translated to a study of [End Page 4] French cinema. Examining two widely popular films, Entre les murs and Intouchables, as well as their reception in France and in the U.S., Brozgal demonstrates that if French critics often avoid addressing the racial content of the films, the projection of American terms and references fails to understand the cultural and contextual meaning of these works. Brozgal addresses this predicament by focusing on the ambivalence of these films in relation to race, demonstrating how they manage to be at once color-blind and race-conscious in ways that challenge us to pay closer attention to the linguistic and aesthetic manifestations of race in contemporary French culture.

In “‘Blackness’ in French: On Translation, Haiti, and the Matter of Race,” Kaiama Glover reflects on her own experience as the translator of René Depestre’s Hadriana dans tous mes rêves. Glover tackles the task of translating and packaging Haitian blackness for an African-American audience. Rejecting a homogenizing understanding of the black experience, Glover emphasizes the specificity of Haiti, and the potential of Hadriana’s depiction of Vodou to reactivate, even in the context of a black diasporic readership, anti-Haitian clichés. Glover offers a theoretically-informed account of her effort to avoid what Graham Huggan has termed “the postcolonial exotic,” while remaining faithful to the opacity of Haitian culture. Like Brozgal’s article, her discussion explores the stakes and challenges involved in opening a transcultural dialogue about race, offering in the process an agenda for future scholarship.

Maxime Decout’s article, “Ce que la judéité fait à la pensée de la littérature,” returns to the difficulty of treating race as a legible category of difference in the French literary field by approaching ‘Jewishness’ (la judéité) as a hermeneutical tool through which to explore the question of both aesthetic form and literary categories. While Jewish identity and Jewish literature are extensively studied in the Anglo-American academy, Decout shifts the terms of the debate to France, where the study of Jewishness remains taboo. The article argues that aesthetic and formal devices may express a ‘Jewishness’ that is irrecoverable—or defined negatively through antisemitism—when understood in purely historical or social terms. Instead focusing on the work of Albert Cohen, Georges Perec, Romain Gary, and others, Decout attends to the way Jewishness is distributed through a range of tropes and figures that never cohere into a monolithic racial identity. In doing so, Decout traces how using la judéité as a hermeneutical lens enables another version of French literary history to emerge, one that allows for the expression of particularism.

In addition to the question of the lexical, theoretical, and institutional parameters of race and the aesthetic in the French context, a key theme of this special issue is the role of the senses in producing racial perceptions. Both [End Page 5] scholarly and lay discourses about race treat it as a largely visual phenomenon, reflected in skin color and physiognomy. While the metaphors used in French to indicate racial difference are more oblique than their English counterparts, terms like “minorités visibles” and “aveugle aux differences” depend on a visual logic. A number of contributions in this special issue, by contrast, seek to move beyond the opposition between a visibility shaped by racial discourse and the ideal of invisibility promoted by French universalism. In “Seeing Race, Seeing Ghosts: Zamor, Ourika, and the Specter of Blackness,” Cécile Bishop explores how aesthetic and rhetorical devices materialize race in the visual field. Through the metaphor of the ghost, the article traces the way blackness can be a “visible invisibility”—something whose material and visual reality emerges through the perception of the immaterial and the absent. Her article thus shifts the terms of visibility away from “racial realism,” which treats race as a stable reality that preexists its aesthetic depiction. Bishop brings together a corpus of visual and literary representations of black subjects to demonstrate how race emerges in the gap between verbal and visual signification. Instead of rejecting race as mere illusion, Bishop uses the notion of ghostliness to imagine other perceptual modes for apprehending an experience of blackness defined by its absence from the historical archive.

Vision, however, is but one part of the sensorium though. Race is also distributed, perceived, and recognized in non-visual forms and modes such as hearing, touch, taste, and smell. As Zoë Roth reminds us in her article, the idea that Jews emitted an inherently repulsive smell—foetor Judaicus—was central to modern European antisemitism. Roth challenges the usual emphasis on the disputed visibility of the Jewish nose to consider the nose instead as an organ that perceives smells. Smell, Roth argues, simultaneously reinforces and destabilizes racial categories. Examining a series of photographic works including Man Ray’s portrait of Proust on his deathbed and Marcel Duchamp’s photographs as Rrose Sélavy, her article explores the ambiguous role smell plays in interpreting and recognizing racial difference. Her intervention makes a claim for what she terms “olfactory aesthetics,” which offers a critical approach to race that relies not on semiotic analyses of visual materials, but on the intuitions afforded by flair.

Like Roth, a number of our contributions explore the potential of adopting a broader sensorial perspective in both reinforcing and challenging racial categories indexed on sight. Lise Schreier’s article thus historicizes the relationship between race and aesthetics through an investigation of the nineteenth-century Martiniquais man of letters Victor Cochinat. As Schreier shows, contemporary accounts of Cochinat simultaneously emphasized his blackness [End Page 6] and his Parisianness—two categories that were usually at odds with one another. To explore how the two were reconciled in Cochinat, Schreier explores both the representations of him in the press and his own positioning. She demonstrates how Cochinat occupied a space that cannot be reduced to the visual perception of his skin color, and that mobilized a much wider range of sensorial experiences, including laughter, sexuality, eating, and drinking. The experiences shared between Cochinat and the Parisian public created forms of connivance and complicity that sometimes superseded his skin color. The result, she argues, provides a warning against reified, ahistorical accounts of racism, and points towards a more plastic understanding of nineteenth-century racial categories than is usually acknowledged.

Tony Haouam’s article, meanwhile, draws attention to the centrality of humor in the elaboration of racial constructs. Haouam shows that comedy sketches operate in a discursive space that is mostly free from the strictures of official color-blindness and constitute a much-neglected area of study to understand France’s relationship to race. Haouam proposes to take comedy seriously as an aesthetic form, and as a realm where comedians and their public experiment with conflicting concepts of racial difference. The article offers close interpretations of two sketches devoted to the topic of ‘African accents’: Michel Leeb’s infamous “L’Africain” and Samia Orosemane’s recent “Les accents africains.” Haouam pays attention to the whole range of aesthetic strategies at work in the comedians’ performance of African identities, including not only verbal content, but also gestures, intonations, accents, and costumes. This process reveals that behind the apparent similarity of their subject matter, the two sketches are in fact built on conflicting understandings of Africanness: one is rooted in biological racialism, while the other offers a vision of African identities as culturally plural and partly performative. The overall result reveals the ambiguity of humor as a means to construct race, beyond the binary of racism/antiracism.

Like Roth, Schreier, and Haouam, Katelyn Knox nuances the dominant role of the visual in the study of race, this time by turning to the intersections of visuality, sound, and language. Her article offers an audiovisual approach to the work of the French musician Abd al Malik, showing how his songs create a subtle “décalage” between the rhetoric of French universalism and the lived experience of difference. Paying attention to Abd al Malik’s aesthetic strategies, including intertextuality, sampling, rhyming, arranging, and video staging, Knox argues that his recent work defines a “meta-French” perspective that brings together existing concepts of universalism, difference, and race, not to reconcile them, but to foreground their dissonances. [End Page 7]

The question of universalism is also central to the next section of this special issue. In contrast to the race-conscious context of the United States, in which ethnic particularism is an acknowledged (if contested) part of national identity, universalism remains the strongest political organizing principle in France. The question of the universal is particularly complex in the aesthetic domain. Minority subjects are rarely granted the status of ‘universal’ artists, and their work is often seen as representative of a particular ethnic or racial identity, rather than read according to the principle of aesthetic autonomy that defines canonical works. Thus, Albert Camus is read as an author of universal experience, and not as a colonial or regional writer from Algeria, while Assia Djebar produced ‘francophone postcolonial women’s writing,’ despite being voted into the Académie Française.15 This form of partial inclusion is one of the means through which the aesthetic marginalization of racialized subjects persists to this day in the literary and artistic fields. The articles in the penultimate section explore not only the ways in which minority and racialized writers have forged entries into French universalism, but also how they have reimagined the universal as an aesthetic realm that would not be implicitly shaped by racial exclusions.

In “East Asian Francophone Writers and Racialized Aesthetics? Gao Xingjian and Aki Shimazaki,” Xiaofan Amy Li explores the possibility of a ‘universalist’ aesthetic that is able to move beyond the racialized categories imposed on minority ethnic authors writing in French. Li’s article expands la francophonie to encompass spaces that are not defined by their (formerly) colonial relationship with France. Moreover, she shifts the focus away from exploring how minority ethnic writers represent or thematize race towards their position in the literary field. Although their popular reception, as well as their critical interpretation, are implicitly racialized, Li argues that their projects point to the possibility for minority writers to define themselves in universal terms.

Clémentine Fauré-Bellaïche’s article expands this discussion of race and aesthetic autonomy by revisiting André Gide’s ideal of literary purity. Her article reinterprets the aesthetic querelles that played out in the pages of the La nouvelle revue francaise (NRF) in the light of the racialization of religious and aesthetic categories in contemporary nationalist and political discourses. The NRF, she reminds us, not only was the country’s preeminent literary review but also played a key role in elaborating the modern understanding of the literary in France. Fauré-Bellaïche argues that Gide’s understanding of aesthetics as pure and autonomous was paradoxically embedded in a politically-charged debate about race, notably the conflict between, on the one [End Page 8] hand, France’s Greco-Latin heritage, associated with Catholicism and Classicism, and on the other hand Protestantism and Judaism. The authors with whom Gide debated, including Charles Maurras and Maurice Barrès, conceived of Protestantism and Judaism as ‘foreign,’ ‘modern,’ ‘individualistic,’ and incapable of aesthetic sensibility. Gide’s desire to define and produce une littérature pure, the article argues, sought to move beyond antagonistic racial-religious dichotomies by synthesizing classicism and individualism into a higher aesthetic form that neutralized racial difference.

Finally, the articles in the special issue’s last section explore the racialization of the contemporary refugee ‘crisis.’ This recent phenomenon has foregrounded new modes of constructing and administering human difference in order to maintain borders and territories. Refugees are made invisible through detention, quarantine, deportation, and by being forced to hide and flee. Yet they also become hypervisible when they are forced to live in tent cities in European capitals or to join transnational refugee caravans. This visibility does not rest on revealing their individuality, however, but by turning the individual into a metonym for the hordes that threaten to ‘invade’ Europe in nationalist and populist rhetoric. In the struggle for the right to political representation, the aesthetic, as Debarati Sanyal has argued, gives “visible and audible form to the singularities of refugees’ experience, sometimes by challenging normative conceptions of what it means to appear and to have a voice in traditional conceptions of the polis.”16 Jiewon Baek’s article takes up the role the aesthetic plays in the visibility of race and the figure of the ‘migrant’ in the work of the experimental French filmmaker, Sylvain George. George’s Paris est une fête, she argues, offers an encounter with the racialized other that is not structured by a Lacanian concept of lack, but rather by an aesthetic of desire that displaces the viewing self. Through Jean-François Lyotard’s notion of the figural as a force that disrupts the discursive mode of representation, Baek puts forward a way of engaging with the aesthetics of race that does not reify it within language.

Dominic Thomas’ article, “The Aesthetics of Migration, Relationality, and the Sentimography of Globality,” explores whether aesthetic objects can mitigate the contemporary dehumanization of refugees by fostering transcultural empathy and identification. Literary and artistic works, Thomas argues, challenge the securitarian apparatus of border infrastructure, migratory controls, and political exclusion by “imaginatively reconstructing” the Other’s experience. Thomas engages with a corpus that includes Ai Weiwei’s refugee boat installation, an immersive virtual reality game that allows the viewer to ‘inhabit’ the experience of a refugee, and Patrick [End Page 9] Chamoiseau’s Migrant Brothers. In doing so, the article explores a range of aesthetic strategies for constructing empathetic responses to contemporary events that become coded as ‘crises’ through the racialization and dehumanization of refugees.

By exploring the place of race in disciplinary and institutional frameworks, expanding the racial sensorium, and considering questions of aesthetic universalism, this special issue seeks to chart new paths to imagine what contribution literary and visual culture studies can make to the growing debates on race in French culture. Our contributors mobilize a variety of critical approaches, from historicizing the aesthetic to probing its autonomy from the political realm. If literary criticism is to be more than the echo chamber of sociology and history, it needs a clear idea of what its specific modes of interpretation can contribute. Failure to understand the relationship between race and the aesthetic may condemn us either to ignore or to reify racialized frames of perception. While remaining attuned to the limits of and tensions between the practice of criticism and the urgencies of contemporary politics, this special issue explores the capacity of literary and visual studies to help us understand the production of racial codes through the senses and, also, to imagine different modes of perception and interpretation.

Cécile Bishop and Zoë Roth
New York University, Durham University


1. “Le ‘décolonialisme’, une stratégie hégémonique: L’appel de 80 intellectuels,” Le point (November 28, 2018), The letter signatories also include academics, such as the historian Mona Ozouf, journalists, and writers, as well as one of the contributors in this volume, Maxime Decout. Decolonialism or decoloniality is an intellectual and political movement first proposed by South American intellectuals, whose aim is to undo what they see as the ongoing colonial matrix of domination first initiated by Europeans in 1492. Decolonial theories insist on the inextricable connections between coloniality and European modernity, as well as on the importance of racism in the structuration of global capitalism. In recent years, the label has become increasingly present in the debates concerning the existence of a structural racism in French society. For a useful exploration of decolonial thought in the French-speaking context, see Souleymane Bachir Diagne and Jean-Loup Amselle, En quête d’Afrique(s): Universalisme et pensée décoloniale (Paris: Albin Michel, 2018), as well as the introduction by Anthony Mangeon.

2. Nicolas Bancel, “France 2005: A Postcolonial Turning Point,” French Cultural Studies, 24:2 (2013), 208–18.

3. Leïla Cukierman, Gerty Dambury, and Françoise Vergès, eds., Décolonisons les arts (Paris: L’Arche, 2018).

4. See Kader Attia’s contribution, “La réparation c’est la conscience de la blessure,” in Cukierman, Dambury, and Vergès, 11–14.

5. Amandine Gay, “La réappropriation des moyens de production au service d’une esthétique autonome,” in Cukierman, Dambury, and Vergès, 46–53.

6. David Bindman, Ape to Apollo: Aesthetics and the Idea of Race in the 18th Century (London: Reaktion, 2002).

7. Monique Roelofs, “Racialization as an Aesthetic Production,” in George Yancy, ed., White on White / Black on Black (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005), 83–124.

8. Jacques Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics, Gabriel Rockhill, trans. (New York: Continuum, 2004), 13.

9. See Nicole Fleetwood, Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality, and Blackness (Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2011); Paul Gilory, Between Camps: Nations, Cultures, and the Allure of Race (London: Penguin Books, 2000); W. J. T. Mitchell, Seeing through Race (Cambridge: Harvard U P, 2012); Alessandra Raengo, On the Sleeve of the Visual: Race as Face Value (Hanover: U P of New England, 2013); Krista A. Thompson, Shine: The Visual Economy of Light in African Diasporic Aesthetic Practice (Durham: Duke U P, 2015).

10. Count Stanislas de Clermont-Tonnerre argued that Jews should be granted citizenship only if they were willing to give up their corporate identity: “To the Jews as a Nation, nothing; to the Jews as individuals, everything,” cited in Paula E. Hyman, The Jews of Modern France (Berkeley: U of California P, 1998), 27. The revolutionary clergyman Abbé Grégoire argued that as a specific group, Jews were degenerate but capable of transformation, and French citizenship would ‘regenerate’ them. See Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall, The Abbé Grégoire and the French Revolution: The Making of Modern Universalism (Berkeley: U of California P, 2005).

11. See Ronald Schechter, Obstinate Hebrews: Representations of Jews in France, 1715–1815 (Berkeley: U of California P, 2003).

12. Pierre Birnbaum, Histoire politique des juifs de France: Entre universalisme et particularisme (Paris: Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques, 1990), 11.

13. See Norman L. Kleeblatt, “The Body of Alfred Dreyfus: A Site for France’s Displaced Anxieties of Masculinity, Homosexuality and Power,” in Nicholas Mirzoeff, ed., Diaspora and Visual Culture: Representing Africans and Jews (New York: Routledge, 2000), 76–91.

14. Étienne Balibar and Immanuel Wallerstein, Race, nation, classe: Les identités ambiguës (Paris : La Découverte, 1988), 33.

15. On the ethnic and cultural boundaries between the notions of French and francophone literatures, see Nicholas Harrison, Postcolonial Criticism: History, Theory and the Work of Fiction (Cambridge: Polity 2003), 104–6.

16. Debarati Sanyal, “Calais’s ‘Jungle’: Refugees, Biopolitics, and the Arts of Resistance,” Representations, 139:1 (Summer 2017): 6.

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