In this next Conversation (en français) on Europe, a panel of experts will be asked to comment on recent developments in French foreign policy, place them in historical perspective, and discuss how they relate to contemporary domestic and regional concerns.
February 19, 2013, Newsweek published an article provocatively entitled “France: Leader of the Free World.” Even more provocatively, the subtitle taunted U.S. leaders with “The French are a decisive, manly superpower. Unlike America.”
Gendered rhetoric aside, French foreign policy in recent years has led other powers to take note. Rather than waiting for collective decisions from NATO or the EU and citing historical interests in the region, the French intervened in Libya and the Ivory Coast under President Sarkozy and Mali under President Hollande. As a result, the French have reaffirmed claims to a special role in Africa. Is this a new assertion of Gaullism? A mere remnant of France’s colonial legacy? Or are claims of French world leadership exaggerated or even undermined by domestic concerns over rising unemployment, growing right-wing nationalism in response to immigration from North and West Africa, and increasing market instability?
Joining the conversation will be
- Professor Laird Boswell, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Professor Jean-Philippe Mathy, French, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- David Patterson, French & Italian, University of Pittsburgh
Moderating this discussion will be Pierre Landry, Political Science, University of Pittsburgh.
The Conversation will be conducted entirely in French and audience participation will be encouraged.