FRTR 2580

Race in the US, France, and the Francophone World.


About this course

This course offers a unique opportunity for students to explore the politics of race and racialization in comparative and historical perspective. Invited scholars, artists, and activists will share their work and experiences with us over the course of the semester in a discussion-based environment. Together, we will also explore films, literature, oral histories, journalism, podcasts, and other means of engaging topics from policing to protest, language to law, memory to memorialization and flourishing.

A 3-credit course taught in English. Some course materials will be available in French for those who would like that option. 

Students who took this class last year wrote

“I would really recommend this course to another UVA student. This class has been very impactful on me. Out of my courses this semester, this will be the one that I learned the most in and has changed my perspective on both France and the US.”

“This was definitely a class I found resourceful and educational in my own anti-racist work. The perspectives from the multiple guest speakers represented a great range of the complex experiences of people of color throughout the US, France, and Francophone regions. I would definitely recommend taking this class to expand your understanding of the experiences of Afro-French people, for example. This course really embraced asking questions and welcomed students from all backgrounds, a factor I really appreciated as I did not have too much experience studying race in France before this class.”

“There is a truly positive energy in this course despite the grave topic and I think that is the right way to handle difficult problems. I would say to another student: “Take this class, meet these fascinating people, listen to what they have to say and then look to the world around you once again, it won't necessarily be better or more reassuring but more nuanced for sure. At that moment, you will see why it was worth it.”


Schedule of guest sessions

Thursday, September 16

11am-12:15pm, French House, room 100

Magda Boutros (University of Washington)

How Activists Build Knowledge about Racialized Policing in Colorblind France


Tuesday, September 28 

11am-12:15pm, French House, room 100

Jennifer Sessions (University of Virginia)

The French Colonial Relationship to North Africa (informal discussion)


Tuesday, October 5

11am-12:15pm, French House, room 100

Mame-Fatou Niang (Carnegie Mellon University; dir. Mariannes Noires)

Feminisms and Identities


*ALSO Tuesday, October 5 

*7pm public film screening

Sans Frapper (2019; dir. Alexe Poukine)

Moderated by Maya Koehn-Wu and Bremen Donovan (Sound Justice Lab)


Thursday, October 14

11am-12:15pm, French House, room 100

Pap Ndiaye (Sciences Po-Paris; Musée national de l'histoire de l'immigration)

Race and Anti-Racism in Contemporary France


Thursday, October 21

11am-12:15pm, French House, room 100

Cory-Alice André-Johnson (Tulane University)

Ethnographic Capture and Consuming Africa


Thursday, October 28

11am-12:15pm, French House, room 100

Yarri Kamara (writer, translator, and UNESCO cultural policy advisor)

Anti-racism as seen from Africa and the role of the arts 


Thursday, November 4

11am-12:15pm, French House, room 100

Mamadou Dia (University of Virginia; dir. Baamum Nafi)

Filmmaking as Representation


Thursday, November 11 

11am-12:15pm, French House, room 100

Marlene Daut (University of Virginia) 

Haiti: Legacies of Freedom, Slavery, and Race


Tuesday November 30 

Jean Beaman (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Citizenship, Anti-racism, and Mobilizing Against Police Violence in Contemporary France