Past Event

The Right to Difference: French Universalism and the Jews

February 19, 2018
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
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Buell Hall, 515 W. 116 St., New York, NY 10027 East Gallery
Maurice Samuels, in conversation with Elisabeth Ladenson, Clémence Boulouque, and Emmanuelle Saada Universal equality is a treasured political concept in France, but recent anxiety over the country’s Muslim minority has led to an emphasis on a new form of universalism, one promoting loyalty to the nation at the expense of all ethnic and religious affiliations. This timely book offers a fresh perspective on the debate by showing that French equality has not always demanded an erasure of differences. In this book, Samuels demonstrates that Jewish difference has always been essential to the elaboration of French universalism, whether as its foil or as proof of its reach. By recovering the forgotten history of a more open, pluralistic form of French universalism, Samuels points toward new ways of moving beyond current ethnic and religious dilemmas and argues for a more inclusive view of what constitutes political discourse in France. Maurice Samuels is the Betty Jane Anlyan Professor of French & Chair of the Department of French at Yale University. Elisabeth Ladenson and Emmanuelle Saada are Professors of French and Clemence Boulouque is the Carl and Bernice Witten Assistant Professor of Jewish and Israel Studies at Columbia. This event is sponsored by the Knapp Family Foundation