Global Studies Colloquium: "Racism, antisemitism and anti-racism in France"

Wednesday, September 29 at 12:30pm

The Department of Global Studies' Colloquium Series is a lecture series, which has been made possible by the generosity of the Orfalea Endowment for the Master's Program in Global Studies.  The Colloquium Series strives to open and explore a wide range of interdisciplinary debates and their interaction and engagement with the global, hosting new guest speakers each quarter from UCSB and beyond.  The upcoming event will be hosted via Zoom on Wednesday, September 29th at 12:30pm. Zoom link is (Meeting ID: 842 4656 4996). Please see below for the featured talk:


Michel Wieviorka, Racism, antisemitism and anti-racism in France

While racism and anti-Semitism are global phenomena they also differ from one country to another. This is why it can be very interesting to compare the French case with other experiences in this field, first of all with the US. This lecture will start with racism. In the past, France has been a colonialist country, a place also where the idea of human races was theorized, mainly during the 19th century. More recently, when migrants workers coming from former colonies became French, and decided to stay in France, in the 70s, racism began to change and became increasingly cultural, “differencialist” say experts. Later, the progress of individualism, the rise of Islam, the emergence of an important Black population, the fragmentation of French society, and other elements contributed to important transformations of racism. The lecture then analyzes the main recent transformations of anti-Semitism in France. In the late 70s there was a renewal of this phenomenon with so-called “negationism”, the idea that gas chambers never existed. Then, the image of Israel became increasingly negative in French public opinion, due to its government policies in Lebanon and toward Palestinians, and there was and still exists a real confusion between hatred towards Jews, criticism of the Israeli government, and desire to finish with the state of Israel – anti-Zionism. More recently, both racism and anti-Semitism in France have been changing due to new developments in French social, cultural, religious and political life, including, of course, the Covid-19 pandemic.

Michel Wieviorka is a sociologist, professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS, Paris). He has researched social movements, violence, terrorism, racism, anti-Semitism. Main books in English: The Arena of Racism (Sage); The Making of Terrorism (University of Chicago Press); The Lure of Anti-Semitism (Brill); Violence: A new approach (Sage); Evil (Polity Press). Former President of the International Sociological Association (ISA, 2006-2010) and of the Fondation Maison des sciences de l'Homme in Paris (FMSH, 2009-2020), ex-member of the Scientific Council of the European Research Council (ERC 2014-2020). Founder and co-director of two journals, SOCIO and Violence: an international Journal.


For more information about the Colloquium Series, please contact Professor Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Global Studies Colloquium Director:


Event Type

Lectures & Presentations

Target Audience

Graduate Students, Faculty & Staff


Social Sciences


global studies, colloquium, current


Global Studies
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