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Professor Michael O’Riley Reviews Charlie Hebdo Forum

Colorado College Professor of French and Italian Michael O’Riley has been commissioned by H-France Salon, an interactive journal, to review the summer 2016 issue of Contemporary French Civilization, which presented a fascinating forum on Charlie Hebdo in the wake of the tragic events of January 2015, in which two brothers forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper, killing 12 people and injuring 11 others.

O’Riley’s review is in response to roughly 15 of the top scholars and writers across disciplines such as history, political science, and sociology who had contributed to a special issue on Charlie Hebdo and terrorism in France.

O’Riley’s article, “Post-Charlie:  Community, Representation, and Terrorism's Foreclosures,” appears in Vol. 9, Issue 1, No. 1 of H-France Salon, an issue titled “The Impossible Subject of Charlie Hebdo,” a collaboration between Contemporary French Civilization and H-France Salon.

O’Riley notes that one of the great strengths of the ensemble of articles on Charlie Hebdo in Contemporary French Civilization is the portrait that emerges of the French Republic. “The contributions taken as a whole seem to say (albeit in different ways) that the Charlie Hebdo attacks and the reactions and implications surrounding them underscore some of the mechanisms by which the French Republic creates a discourse of collective identity,” writes O’Riley. “A predominant undercurrent that unites the essays in this special issue is that of community and representation and, namely, the specific question of inclusion and exclusion.”

The summer 2016 issue of Contemporary French Civilization, guest edited by Mayanthi Fernando and Catherine Raissiguier, features a forum that includes an introduction, six articles, four vignettes, and two education portfolios.  In order to introduce this material broadly, the editor, Denis M. Provencher, and the journal’s publisher, Liverpool University Press, have agreed to make the Introduction available until July 17.