Immigration and Diversity in Paris

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Course Information
Francophone Studies
Terms offered: 
Fall, Spring
Language of instruction: 
Contact Hours: 

Some social science background or at least one introductory level social science course)


The Paris region has the largest migrant population in France. Most of these populations come from former French colonies, are often francophone and are well acquainted with French culture. We will study history, sociology, and anthropology to better understand the men and women who live amongst “ethnic French.” We will also analyze different political, historical, and sociological points of view relative to “the problem” of immigration in the last few decades.

Attendance policy: 

Attendance is mandatory. Please note that absences and tardies will prevent you from fully understanding the material of the course and lowers your final grade. In case of illness, please alert your professor and the academics coordinator.

Learning outcomes: 

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Discuss the major immigrant populations in France.
  • Understand the different periods of immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries.
  • Exercise critical thinking of the migratory phenomenon in France and its place in the public discourse.
  • Distinguish the differences between French and American immigration.
  • Analyze the contemporary immigration situation by using historical tools.
  • Better understand the subject and its vocabulary.
Method of presentation: 

For each course there will be a different reading. Every student must read these texts closely. Course readings and their vocabulary lists, cited sources, and countries referenced will form the basis of the discussion between the instructor and the students. In addition to these readings, a collection of documents and appendices will include supplementary readings, note cards, and a glossary to deepen comprehension and analysis. Students should consult the daily/weekly/monthly French press. Multiple courses will be based on current affairs in France, and each student must be able to speak in class about current news in relation to the course. We will organize a conference during the course, date and time to be determined (not during class time).

Required work and form of assessment: 
  • Class participation - 20%
  • Essay - 20%
  • Pop-quizzes: 3 per term - 15%
  • Midterm exam - 20%
  • Final exam - 25%

Students must read the assigned texts for each course and participate in course discussions.
Quizzes and Exams
These exams are based on in-class material. Dates TBD by the professor
A 4-page essay will be due at the end of the term (this paper can be replaced by a 15-minute in-class presentation if so desired).





Lesson 1 Course Presentation  
Lesson 2

History of Immigration

Make a list of vocabulary words

Before 1945: « La France et ses étrangers », Émile Temime, in P. Dewitte, dir. Immigration et intégration l’état des savoirs, La découverte, Paris 1999, pp 56-67
Lesson 3

History of Immigration

What strikes you as unique in the French relation to "the other"

Compare with the American vision of immigration

After 1945: «Après 1945, De L’indigène à l’immigré, Pascal Blanchard et Nicolas Blancel, Découvertes Gallimard, Paris, 1998, pp 61-98
Lesson 4

The French Model of Integration

Why is this model different than the American model?

« La république et ses immigrés : Petite histoire de l’intégration à la française », Gérard Noiriel, Le monde diplomatique, janvier 2002.
Lesson 5

Emergence of the Problem of Immigration

What does the author cite as the principle aspects of the emergence of “the problem”?

« L’immigration objet du débat politique », Catherine Withol de Wenden, Confluences, 14, printemps 1995, pp 20-26.
Lesson 6

The creation of la banlieue (suburb)

Study the history and evolution of language and vocabulary within la banlieue

Lesson 7

The Algerians

Note anything you were unaware of about the War in Algeria in order to ask pertinent questions

« L’immigration algérienne en France, Histoire d'un Centenaire ». Hamouni M., Revue du Centre d'études et de recherche sur l'Algérie contemporaine, Paris, 1999.
Lesson 8

The Algerians

Why does the present-day immigrant still have the image of “the worker”?

« La main-d’œuvre algérienne dans l’industrie automobile (1945-1962), ou les oubliés de l’histoire », Laure Pitti, Homme et migration : Immigration et marché du travail, N° 1263, Sept-oct. 2006.
Lesson 9


What is the current state of immigrant housing in the Paris region?

« Du meublé au bidonville », Un Nanterre algérien, terre de bidonvilles, Abdelmalek Sayad, Autrement, Paris, 1995, pp. 20-40.
Lesson 10 Midterm Exam  
Lesson 11


Compare discriminatory measures in France and America

« Étrangers, l’ampleur de la discrimination. » Louis Maurin, Observatoire des inégalités, internet
Lesson 12

Sub-Saharan Africa

Situation (geographically) countries mentioned in the text: Consider the American-Mexican boarder in relation to the subject

« Comment l’Union européenne enferme ses voisins », Alain Morice et Claire Rodier, Le monde diplomatique, juin 2010.
Lesson 13

Immigrant Aid

The DAL, the GISTI, the CIMADE, the RESF; what does “aid” mean in the context?

Lesson 14

Undocumented Immigrants and the Homeless

Press review (to prepare)

Look up and define all unfamiliar vocabulary that you find in the French press

Lesson 15 The “Problem” of Immigration  
Lesson 16 Islamophobia « L'islam inspire la crainte en France comme en Allemagne Par », Constance Jamet , Le Figaro, 04 janvier 2011.
Lesson 17

The Youth, Historian’s Perspective

How can Gerard Noiriel say that these terms don’t exist? What is his goal in deconstructing this supposed reality?

« Les jeunes d’ « origine immigrée” n’existent pas », Gérard Noiriel, in État, Nation et Immigration. Vers une histoire du pouvoir. Belin, Paris, 2001. pp221-229.
Lesson 18

The Youth, New Emergence of the Elite

What is their goal?

« L’ascension loin de la politique », le Monde, 29 oct 08, Luc Bronner.

« Les Dérouilleurs du handicap social », 28 juin 07, Bondy Blog.

Lesson 19

The Youth, Sociological Perspective

What makes French rap so specific?

« Le rap et la figure de la relégation », Alain Millon, L’étranger dans la ville, PUF, Paris, 1999, pp 71-106.
Lesson 20

French Suburbs, American Ghettos

What did you learn and did it change your opinion about this subject?

« Banlieue française et Ghetto noir américain. Éléments de comparaisons sociologiques. » Loïc Wacquant, in Wieviorka, dir., Racisme et modernité. La découverte, Paris, 1993, pp. 263-277.
Lesson 21


Oral presentations (replaces the 4-page essay for certain students)

Lesson 22

Final Exam

Essay Deadline



Required readings: 

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