Crystal Fleming

Crystal Fleming ’04: On the Illegibility of French Antiblackness

Addressing Racism and Anti-Blackness in French and Francophone Studies
Nov 17, 2020, 2:30–3:45 PM
Free and open to the public

The French Department welcomes Crystal Fleming ’04, professor of sociology, Stony Brook University, to deliver a lecture, On the Illegibility of French Antiblackness: Notes from an African American Critic, as part of a virtual colloquia series Addressing Racism and Anti-Blackness in French and Francophone Studies.

This talk employs a critical race framework to explore historical and present-day dynamics of antiblackness in France. Reflecting on her own experiences as an African American researcher studying French racism and commemorations of slavery in the Paris region, the author considers the discursive practices of denial and minimization that continue to obfuscate French antiblackness. The author argues that despite rising attention to the legacies of slavery and a massive resurgence of mobilizations focusing on the experiences and suffering of Black people, the denial of systemic racism and French antiblackness remains hegemonic. Obscuring, erasing, justifying and trivializing antiblack racism are common features of French life—with devastating consequences for people of African descent.

Please register via Zoom.


About the series:
This series features eminent scholars examining the role race plays in systems of power and thought in the field of French and Francophone Studies. We hope our series will foster conversations that combat racism and promote inclusion and equity in our classrooms and research.

The recent death of George Floyd and the ensuing Black Lives Matter protests in the United States have resonated powerfully in France, which witnessed its own case of police brutality against Adamé Traroé, a young French-Malian man who died in police custody in 2016. These events have triggered difficult conversations in both countries about national identity, the memory of slavery, and notions of race. In France, these debates have led to a revaluation of France’s legacy of colonization, notably through a critical reappraisal of the ideologies that undergird traditional notions of French citizenship.

Given the urgency of such discussions, the members of the French Department, as both individuals and scholars, propose a public examination of the role race plays in systems of power and thought in our own field, in order to deepen classroom discussions and promote inclusion and equity in our courses. To this end, we have organized a fall virtual colloquium series featuring eminent French Studies scholars who will speak on topics ranging from “art and race” and “the illegibility of French anti-Blackness” to “racial dimensions of the notion of freedom” and “anti-racism campaigns in Paris.” We hope our series will foster conversations that illuminate the entrenched role of race and racism both in France and the U.S. Please join us for these conversations.

For more information, please contact: