Muslim Girls and the Other France

Muslim Girls and the Other France

Race, Identity Politics, and Social Exclusion
Trica Danielle Keaton. Foreword by Manthia Diawara
Distribution: World
Publication date: 2/6/2006
Format: paper 240 pages, 15 b&w photos, 1 index
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-21834-6
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Description

“[Keaton] provides the most in-depth analysis of the predicament of French Arabs and Africans living in the suburbs of Paris. . . . [O]ne can read the book through the lens of such great African American writers and activists as Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Malcolm X. . . . [It] contains an implicit warning to you, France, not to repeat the American racism in your country.” —from the foreword by Manthia Diawara

Muslim girls growing up in the outer-cities of Paris are portrayed many ways in popular discourse—as oppressed, submissive, foreign, “kids from the projects,” even as veil-wearing menaces to France’s national identity—but rarely are they perceived simply as what they say they are: French. Amid widespread perceptions of heightened urban violence attributed to Muslims and highly publicized struggles over whether Muslim students should be allowed to wear headscarves to school, Muslim girls often appear to be the quintessential “other.” In this vivid, evocative study, Trica Danielle Keaton draws on ethnographic research in schools, housing projects, and other settings among Muslim teenagers of North and West African origin. She finds contradictions between the ideal of universalism and the lived reality of ethnic distinction and racialized discrimination. The author’s own experiences as an African American woman and non-Muslim are key parts of her analysis. Keaton makes a powerful statement about identity, race, and educational politics in contemporary France.

Author Bio

Trica Danielle Keaton is Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies and the Institute for Global Studies at the University of Minnesota.

Reviews

". . . a call to arms . . . measured and analytic—its cadences are those of a committed, engaged intellectual. Still, for all of its hard-headed, theoretically penetrating analyses, it is also a tender treatise. It is full of love—for girls, who have the right to live fully, and for all marginalized people, who should have all the rights that white French people have." —Women's Review of Books

". . . the book's detailed exploration of the lived experiences of immigrant-origin girls and of the identities they form as they navigate the competing demands of home, school, and wider society makes an important ethnographic contribution to the study of postcolonial France." —Mayanthi L. Fernando, Washington University, St. Louis, INTNL JRNL MID EAST STD - IJMES , Vol. 40 2008

"...Keaton turns a sharp eye on the abandonment of national education by the French state. ...Her sensitivity to the dire living conditions of the people she interviews runs through her examination of the orders of structural exclusion in French society that are silently organized and underpinned by economic destitution. ... Keaton has successfully brought to the forefront of her analysis: how the primacy of racism in France continues to subject a material reality with deplorable emotional and physical effects on French Muslim African men and women." —Ruth Mas, University of Colorado, Boulder,
Journal Middle East Women's Stds JMEWS , Vol.6.2 Spring 2010

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Manthia Diawara
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Unmixing French "National Identity"
2. Structured Exclusion: Public Housing in the French Outer City
3. Transmitting a "Common Culture": Symbolic Violence Realized
4. Counterforces: Educational Inequality and Relative Resistance
5. Beyond Identity: Muslim Girls and the Politics of Their Existence
Epilogue: And So It Goes . . .
Notes
Bibliography
Index