Dans le cadre du cycle de conférences données par les résidents de l'Institut d'études avancées de Paris à l'occasion de l'inauguration de l'IEA de Paris à l'Hôtel de Lauzun
Troisième conférence donnée par Sharon FARMER : France and the people of the Mediterranean: a medieval perspective.
Discutant : Jean-Claude Schmitt (EHESS)
Since the publication of Gerard Noiriel’s Le creuset français in 1988, historians of modern France have grappled with the need to incorporate the reality of immigration into French historical memory, and thus to redefine powerful national myths about what it means to be French. Historians of medieval France, however, have been slower to grapple with the meanings and realities of immigration in their own period. This may be partially due to Noiriel’s suggestion that Jules Michelet had already portrayed pre-revolutionary France as a melting pot, “in which were merged all the ethnic backgrounds of the people of Gaul.” The problem in French historiography, Noiriel suggested, resides in the perception that the revolution ENDED a process of assimilation that had been taking place throughout the middle ages.
Michelet’s medieval “French melting pot,” however, was extremely limited. There was no space, in his romantic vision of the French people, for Spaniards, Italians, Jews, or Greeks. Italian bankers and Jewish usurers, Michelet claimed, were deeply implicated in the “ugliness” “du vieux droit romain, de la vieille fiscalité impériale”, which was born with King Philip the Fair at the end of the thirteenth century, and was mercifully brought to an end by the revolution. Spain, as far as Michelet was concerned, belonged more to “the “burning light of Africa” than to Europe, which ended at the Pyrénées.
Professor Farmer proposes that medievalists can, in fact, contribute to the project of recasting French history in order to help create a collective identity that recognizes its own openness to immigration. She will attempt to do so by looking at immigrant workers in the age of King Philip the Fair. During that period, immigrant workers from various parts of the Mediterranean put down roots in various parts of Northern France. They brought with them a rich assortment of skills that helped to feed the economic and cultural expansion of the period.
Sharon Farmer, professeur d’histoire à l’université de Californie à Santa Barbara, travaille sur les femmes et le genre à l’époque médiévale, les relations entre la France et la méditerranée au Moyen-Âge, l’histoire de l’environnement médiéval et l’histoire de la Bible à l’époque médiévale et aux débuts de l’époque moderne. Elle est l’auteur de Surviving Poverty in Medieval Paris: Gender, 2013 un nouveau projet, copiloté avec Carol Gluck (Columbia University, Comittee for Global Thought), a pris le relais sur le thème « Memory in Global Context ». En janvier 2011, MATRICE, son projet d’Equipement d’excellence (EQUIPEX - Investissements d'Avenir) porté par le PRES Hesam, plateforme technologique sur la mémoire individuelle et la mémoire sociale, a été retenu. Il en assure la direction scientifique.