Over this past month France has endured three weeks of rioting, starting in the Paris suburbs and later spreading to dozens of towns and cities across the country. Nationwide, nearly 10,000 cars were set ablaze and some 3,000 people, mainly immigrant youth, arrested. The French parliament has approved a three-month state of emergency that extends more power to police and authorizes local authorities to impose curfews.
Right and below: Scenes from the French riots
The riots in France bring to the forefront some of the challenges of citizenship in a globalizing world. Certain assumptions about immigration, constitutionalism and human rights, and general public policies have been fundamentally brought into question. As York French Studies Professor Ibrahim Badr has argued, “the root causes of the problems that have erupted into this violence are very complex and have significant historical, economical, and cultural dimensions.”
Canada and other nations face their own problems of racial marginalization and urban violence. Can we say that the November riots are a result of circumstances distinct to France? Or are the French riots an event pregnant with instructions for all states and societies?
To explore these questions from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, the Centre for Public Law & Public Policy at Osgoode Hall Law School, is sponsoring a roundtable discussion featuring Professors Susan Drummond and Obiora Okafor of Osgoode Hall Law School; Professor Ratiba Hadj-Moussa, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts; Professor Pablo Idahosa, coordinator of the African Studies Program; and Professor Engin Isin, Canada Research Chair in Citizenship Studies. The roundtable will take place today, from 12:40 to 2pm, in room 207 at Osgoode Hall Law School.