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Alice L. Conklin, Race Talk: Antiracism at UNESCO in Postwar Paris 1948-1965
“A Racial Awakening in France, Where Race Is a Taboo Topic”: so reads a July 14, 2020 headline in the New York Times, just a few months after George Floyd’s death. The article goes on to say that “American thinkers and pop culture” have played a key role over the past twenty years in encouraging a new race consciousness among Blacks in France – a country famously allergic to any talk of either plural identities or racism. Yet this is hardly the first time that “American thinkers,” black or white, have helped to open a discussion about the place of race in France. UNESCO served as an early critical contact zone between francophone and anglophone traditions of “race talk” in the heart of Europe itself at an equally exceptional moment of transoceanic exchange: the two decades following World War II. My talk will explore a few aspects of this contact zone.

Sep 24, 2020 02:30 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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