The director and fellows of the Institut d’Études Avancées de Paris—where I am currently serving as a Résident (Residential Fellow) during the 2014-2015 academic year—held a meeting in the aftermath of the attack on Charlie Hebdo to discuss ways in which we might organize some sort of academic response to the violence.
We had a useful discussion of the complex issues surrounding the terrorist attacks and brainstormed about which themes we could effectively discuss based on our research specializations. We will assemble again soon to determine what sort of roundtable or workshop might be most effective and to determine what sort of audience is most appropriate.
Across France, by far the most popular slogan among people responding to the terrorist attacks has been “Je suis Charlie.” The slogan had already become dominant in French political culture by the evening of the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s offices, when thousands of Parisians gathered at place de la République.
French historians and other academics who study French culture, European politics, terrorism, and religious violence will all be following this evolving situation closely. I have encouraged our Northern Illinois University graduate students in French history to try to keep up with the significant coverage of the attacks and the political fallout from them, since French historians are often called on to comment on current events in the areas they study.
I previously offered a graduate research seminar at Northern Illinois University on Religious Politics and Sectarian Violence in Comparative Perspective during Fall 2013. I am planning on offering a graduate reading seminar on the same theme during the coming 2015-2016 academic year.
Unfortunately, the subject of religious violence continues to be all too relevant in today’s world.
The website of the IEA de Paris is : http://paris-iea.fr/