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AVIVA-BERLIN.de 11/22/5784 - Beitrag vom 14.07.2006

Harvard Center for European Studies - Berlin Dialogs
Sarah Ross

Is There Multiculturalism in France? This question will be answered from a Jewish perspective on July 17, 2006 in a course of lectures at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung

The Harvard Center for European Studies in Berlin cordially invites you to the CES Berlin Dialogs. This time, Martine Cohen, Dr. Diana Pinto and Dr. Judith Eisenberg Vichniac will speak on the theme: "Is There Multiculturalism in France? A Jewish Perspective" The Session will focus on the following questions:

Like the United States, France has always been a country with a significant rate of immigration. Yet, unlike the U.S. where ethnic and cultural differences are recognized and even celebrated, France`s new immigrants are expected to embrace French cultural norms and practices and assimilate into the larger society. Yet, the French government is having a difficult time absorbing the roughly 4 million residents of North African descent. Crises have erupted in schools when religious Muslim girls have arrived with head scarves. Riots have taken place in the suburbs that ring the large cities of France, filled with young men of Magrebin descent who have little hope of finding a place in French society. A multi-ethnic reality is challenging a set of socio-economic and cultural policies that do not recognize difference.

The Jewish community is one of the oldest minorities living in France. Ever since the French Revolution when they were granted citizenship, French Jews have worked out a modus vivendi with government authorities. Now, France has the largest Jewish community in Europe, rejuvenated by the arrival of Jews from North Africa in the early `60s. The estimate of the number of Jews living in France today is 600,000. Many see Jewish integration in French society as a model for other groups to follow.

This is not to say that France has escaped from anti-Semitism. Far from it. During the worst period, the policies of the Vichy government allowed 75,000 Jews, some of whom were citizens, to be deported. And, again anti-Semitic acts are on the rise. This has created strains between Muslim and Jewish communities because many of the acts of vandalism and physical attacks on Jewish property or on Jews can be traced back to young men of North African descent. French Jews has been looking to the government for increased protection at a time when electoral calculations predispose political parties to court the Muslim vote.

What is to be learned from the Jewish experience about the possibilities of minority integration in France? Is the Jewish community, along with the Muslim, challenging the cultural norms of what is acceptable in French society? Are demographic changes in France placing the interests of the Jewish community in a more tenuous situation than before? The events of the last few years have brought these questions to the fore.

The speakers of the panel are:

Martine Cohen
Sociologist, Groupe Sociétés, Religions, Laïcités (GSRL, CNRS-EPHE) and author of Associations laïques et confessionnelles: identités et valeurs, Sectes et democratie, and Les Transformations de l`autorité religieuse (2004).

Dr. Diana Pinto
Intellectual historian and writer living in Paris. A Senior Fellow of the London based Institute for Jewish Policy Research, she is now working on a project on "Jewish voices for the European res publica". The author of Entre deux mondes she has lectured widely on transatlantic issues and on Jewish life in contemporary Europe as a crucial chapter in the continent`s pluralist challenges.

Dr. Judith Eisenberg Vichniac
Political Scientist. Vichniac is Director of the Radcliffe Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard. Her published works include The Management of Labor: The British and French Iron and Steel Industries, 1860-1918 (1990) and "Religious Toleration and Jewish Emancipation in France and Germany," in Democracy, Revolution and History (T. Skocpol et al., eds., 1998), a Festschrift in honor of Barrington Moore, Jr. (chair and co-organizer)

In Cooperation with:
Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies
Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung
Hertie Foundation
Hertie School of Governance
Draeger Foundation, Lübeck
Dr. Kade Pharmazeutische Fabrik GmbH

If you have not yet registered for this session, please send an e-mail to maychu@fas.harvard.edu

For further information on speakers and chair: www.fas.harvard.edu/~ces-ber/participants.html

For further information on the CES Berlin Dialogues: http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~ces-ber/

Berlin Office
Abby Collins, Max Hirsh, Karolina May-Chu
Marienstrasse 19/20
10117 Berlin
Tel: +49-30-28 48 22 40
Fax: +49-30-28 48 22 49

Harvard Center for European Studies in Berlin

Theme: Is There Multiculturalism in France?: A Jewish Perspective
When: Montag, 17.07.2006, 18.00-20.00
Where: Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, Reichpietschufer 50, 10785 Berlin

Jüdisches Leben

Beitrag vom 14.07.2006

Sarah Ross