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"Sex, France, and Arab Men, 1962-1979,” by Todd Shepard, CMSP Seminar Series

Monday, March 12, 2018 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Guerlac Room, AD White 27 East Avenue, Ithaca, NY 14853

Algerian questions— and answers— made the sexual revolution French. This talk sketches out a history of how and why, from Algeria’s independence from France in 1962 and through the cultural and social upheaval of the 1970s, highly sexualized claims about “Arabs” were omnipresent in important public discussions in France, both those that dealt with sex and those that spoke of Arabs. Two phenomena became enmeshed: the ongoing consequences of the Algerian war (1954– 1962) and the so- called sexual revolution— which in roughly those years grabbed public attention and rapidly changed how sex was evoked, lived, and (far more slowly) legislated, even as it also provoked critique, activism, and resistance. To understand each of these things, it is necessary to analyze them together. To illustrate how a post- decolonization grammar of sex talk changed contemporary France, this talk will home in on the efflorescence of French efforts in the 1970s to think about power in relationship to the act of sodomy, with explicit reference to histories of colonial violence and post- decolonization racism.

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Event Type



Near Eastern Studies, Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, History, Romance Studies, Comparative Muslim Societies Program, Global Cornell


CUHistory, cosochum, Romance Studies



Contact E-Mail

Contact Name

Eric Tagliacozzo


Todd Shepard

Speaker Affiliation

Arthur O. Lovejoy Professor of History, Johns Hopkins University

Disability Access Information

Wheelchair accessible

Open To

Free and Open to the Public

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