Jean Beaman, University of California, Santa Barbara
Title: Suspect Citizenship
Abstract: Incidents of state violence and activism against that violence illustrate the continuing significance of race and the persistence of white supremacy in France, the United States, and worldwide. Based on past and current ethnographic research and interviews with ethnic minorities in the Parisian metropolitan region, this talk argues that, despite France’s colorblind and Republican ethos, France’s “visible minorities” function under a “suspect citizenship” in which their full societal belonging is never granted. I focus on the growing problem of state violence against ethnic minorities which reveals how France is creating a “bright boundary” (Alba 2005) between whites and non-whites, furthering disparate outcomes based on race and ethnic origin. By considering the multifaceted dimensions of citizenship and belonging in France, I demonstrate the limitations of full societal inclusion for France’s non-white denizens and how French Republicanism continues to mark, rather than erase, racial and ethnic distinctions.