Europe Lecture 2016

After the 2015 Paris Attacks: What is the Future of the French Republic?

Prof. Patrick Weil

Date and Time: Wednesday 13 July, 2016 Dixson Room, State Library of NSW 6-8pm.

Not all French citizens today feel they are compatriots. Some think, 'I don't recognise the country where I was raised,' and some feel, 'I am French on paper, but I am not recognised as such.' In such fragmentation, lie the seeds of discontent and violence. How can we  promote a sense of living in a common society that has become more and more diverse thanks to immigration? The answer lies in understanding the sharing of a common history. Modern France, Weil said, is built on four pillars: Equality under the law; the memory of the French Revolution; a shared language  and culture; and the concept of laïcité, which organises the status of religion. But what unites a country - any country - is a sense of history: a shared story. Many citizens of contemporary France need to hear their stories which are part of the history of the colonial Empire - fully incorporated into  the national narrative. Conflicts and injustices of the past must be more understood and told not as an history of blame but as a more nuanced history of progress, of values, and of principles.

Professor Patrick Weil is a Visiting Professor of Law, Oscar M. Ruebhausen Distinguished Senior Fellow, and a Senior Research Scholar in Law at Yale Law School, and a senior research fellow at the French National Research Center in the University of Paris1, Pantheon-Sorbonne.  Professor Weil's work focuses on comparative immigration, citizenship, and church-state law and policy. His most recent book is The Sovereign Citizen: Denaturalization and the Origins of the American Republic (Penn Press, 2013).

Hear the lecture on ABC Radio