Julie Kleinman

Julie Kleinman

Biography

Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Fordham University
Borders in the Capital: Public Space, Immigration, and the Making of an African Hub in France
McMillan-Stewart Fellow
Spring 2018

 
 

Julie Kleinman is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Fordham University, specializing in urban studies, race, and migration in France and West Africa. She is currently finishing a book manuscript on these topics from the perspective of West African migrants at Europe’s largest railway station, the Gare du Nord in Paris, and her work has been published in Transition, City & Society, the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, and Ethnologie Française. She has begun fieldwork for a second book project on return migration and deportee rights activism in Mali and Côte d’Ivoire, which looks at the political and social transformations created by what many West Africans calls their “adventure” abroad.

 

Project Description

Borders in the Capital: Public Space, Immigration, and the Making of an African Hub in France

Based on 24 months of ethnographic and archival research, my research tells the story of the Gare du Nord railway station in Paris, from its imperial aims to connect Europe in the nineteenth century to twenty-first century “riots.” Through this lens, I offer an alternative narrative of public space, race, and the politics of difference in France. Against the dominant argument presuming that the French state attempts to eradicate difference, my work illustrates that through policing and architecture, the state attempted instead to domesticate difference and order how outsiders would be incorporated into public space. Through ethnographic research among West African "adventurers" at the station, I show how transnational practices and narratives have transformed it into a node of exchange connecting Parisian urban networks to pathways through North and sub-Saharan Africa. Faced with police control, violence, and increasing restrictions that question their right to exist in public space, I argue that the adventurer imaginary and social relations that these migrants weave through the station provide an urgent reconfiguration of the entrenched boundaries and precarious futures proposed by both French and many postcolonial African nation-states.


Spring 2018: McMillan-Stewart Fellow


 

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