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From October to December 1983, youths from the working-class suburbs of Lyon led the March for Equality and Against Racism, the first national demonstration of its type in France. As Abdellali Hajjat reveals, this historic protest symbolized for many the experience of the children of postcolonial immigrants, marching against racist crimes, for equality before the law and the police, and for basic rights such as the right to work and housing. Translated into English for the first time, The Wretched of France contemplates the protest’s lasting significance in France as well as its impact within the context of larger and comparable movements for civil rights, particularly in the United States.

ABDELLALI HAJJAT is Associate Professor of Sociology at the Université libre de Bruxelles. In addition to The Wretched of France (2022), he has recently published with Marwan Mohammed Islamophobia in France: How the Elites Forged the “Muslim Problem” (2022). His research interests focus on citizenship and race in French law; urban uprisings and political mobilizations by postcolonial immigrants in France; Islamophobia as a “total social fact”; construction of the “Muslim problem”; and redefinitions of French secularism.

This talk is generously funded by the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, the USC Max Kade Institute for Austrian-German-Swiss Studies, the Francophone Research and Resource Center, and the Departments of French and Italian, Comparative Literature, History, and American Studies and Ethnicity.

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