Project Title: The Persistence of Scientific Racism in Azouz Begag's Béni ou le Paradis Privé
Student: Onyinye Okoli ’16
Mentor: Dr. Mary Anne Lewis
For nearly as long as humans have inhabited the Earth, the practice of migration has been in existence. In recent times, the issue of immigration has become a divisive issue, one whose merits and consequences are being constantly debated. France, in particular has been experiencing a surge in the number of immigrant populations since the early 19th century and many of these populations originate from its former colonies in Africa. Upon arrival in their “terre d’accueil”, African immigrants are usually subject to a hostile reception from the native population. Unlike European immigrants however, the African immigrants are seen as “other” owing to their ethnic and racial differences, and this leads to issues of racial discrimination. It has been the case, from the early beginnings of African immigration to Europe, that “science” and “scientific arguments” are used by members of the native population to justify racial discrimination towards the immigrants. This project will examine the use of science as a means to justify racial discrimination towards North African immigrants in France through analyses of Azouz Begag’s “Béni ou le paradis privé”, in order to investigate and highlight this phenomenon from the perspective of the African immigrant.