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Global France Seminar presents, Ariane Chebel d’Appollonia “Violent America: What’s the Future of Identity Politics?”

March 18 @ 5:15 pm - 6:30 pm

Abstract: In Violent America, Ariane Chebel d’Appollonia analyzes why and how various ethno-racial groups use different forms of violence, rationally if not dispassionately, to achieve instrumental goals. Rather than focusing on ethno-racial prejudice as the main source of violence in America, she explores the effect of violence on ethno-racial identification. The predominant forms may have evolved over time, from largely physical to increasingly discursive violence. Nonetheless, their pattern of usage remains intact. Specifically, she argues that the instrumental use of ethno-racial violence today remains a means by which all ethno-racial groups gain status and thus acceptance into the mainstream of American civil, political, and social life.

Her goal is to provide an alternative way of understanding the complex relationship between migrant phobia, multiethnic grievances, and ethno-racial conflicts in America and beyond, especially France. In supporting her position, the author examines a vast array of evidence about the historic and contemporary use of violence by ethno-racial groups as part of an “identity strategy” – based on contentious politics – intended to secure tangible or symbolic benefits. This identity strategy has proven to be effective in the past; today, however, it fuels an increasing fragmentation of American society which is detrimental to the fight for racial justice, social equity, and an inclusive politics of difference.

Bio: Ariane Chebel d’Appollonia is Professor at Rutgers University – State University of New Jersey (School of Public Affairs). She also teaches at Sciences Po Paris. She has been Visiting Chaired Professor at Northwestern University and the University of Central European University, EU-US Fulbright Transatlantic Researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, and Visiting Professor at NYU and at the Universidad Complutense of Madrid. Her main recent publications include Frontiers of Fears: Immigration and Insecurity in the United States and Europe (Cornell University Press, 2012); How Does it Feel to Be a Treat? Migrant Mobilization and Securitization in the US and Europe (Palgrave Macmillan, NYU Series, 2015); and Violent America: The Dynamics of Identity Politics in a Multiracial Society (Cornell University Press, 2023).


March 18
5:15 pm - 6:30 pm

Literature Section
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue 14N-407
Cambridge, MA 02139
tel: (617) 253-3581