The Right to Difference: French Universalism and the Jews

Event Details

The Right to Difference: French Universalism and the Jews

Time: November 8, 2017 from 6:30pm to 8pm
Location: La Maison Française of NYU
Street: 16 Washington Mews (at University Place)
City/Town: New York, NY 10003
Website or Map:…
Phone: 212-998-8750
Event Type: discussion
Organized By: La Maison Française of NYU
Latest Activity: Oct 12, 2017

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Event Description

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. The Right to Difference offers a fresh perspective on the debate by showing that French equality has not always demanded an erasure of differences. Through close and contextualized readings of the way that major novelists, philosophers, filmmakers, and political figures have struggled with the question of integrating Jews into French society, Maurice Samuels draws lessons about how the French have often understood the universal in relation to the particular. 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                                                                                                  
Maurice Samuels is Betty Jane Anlyan Professor of French at Yale University and Director of the Yale Program for the Study of Antisemitism. He specializes in the literature and culture of nineteenth-century France and in Jewish Studies. He is the author of The Spectacular Past: Popular History and the Novel in Nineteenth-Century FranceInventing the Israelite:  Jewish Fiction in Nineteenth-Century FranceThe Right to Difference: French Universalism and the Jews (Chicago, 2016) is his most recent book. 

in conversation with

Director, Institute of French Studies, NYU

In English

Co-sponsored by the Institute of French Studies and La Maison Française of NYU 


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