Keynote speaker: Thomas Chatterton Williams
With Nell Irvin Painter and Marie-Anne Matard-Bonucci, and moderator James McAuley
The denunciation of racism, in the wake of Black Lives Matter, has put questions of systemic discrimination in the US and in France into relief. But these two countries, with their different histories, have a distinct relationship to the notion of race, a word that is even taboo in France. While the United States grapples with a long history of slavery, France is often blamed for its supposed colorblindness and the difficulty it faces in addressing its colonial legacy. How do these different narratives translate into contemporary debates, such as accusations of historical revisionism or criticism of cultural appropriation?
Thomas Chatterton Williams is a writer and a journalist, author of Losing My Cool (The Penguin Press 2010) and Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race (W. W. Norton and Company 2019). He is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and a columnist at Harper’s, where he launched “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate” (July 7, 2020) signed by 153 public figures denouncing the intolerance of opposing views.
Nell Irvin Painter is an American historian and a visual artist. She is Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, at Princeton University. Her books include Sojourner Truth: A Life, a Symbol (W. W. Norton 1999), Creating Black Americans: African American History and its Meanings, 1619 to the Present (Oxford 2005) and The History of White People (W. W. Norton 2010).
Marie-Anne Matard-Bonucci is a French historian, professor at the University of Paris VIII, whose work focuses on fascism and antisemitism. Her books include Antisémythes : L'image et la représentation des juifs (Nouveau Monde, 2005). She is a columnist at Alarmer, a recent web journal dedicated to research on contemporary antisemitism and racism.
James McAuley is a Global Opinions contributing columnist focusing on French and European politics and culture for The Washington Post.