Claire HANCOCK, Université Paris-Est Créteil, France
France has been no haven protected from worldwide trends threatening academic independence and freedom to conduct research. With the normalizing of fascist discourse in mainstream media and among politicians, several areas of social science have come under threat, and geography is no exception. Feminist geographers, in particular, have been targeted by harassment campaigns and death threats, as their innovative work either on gender and sexuality, or in border studies, attracted the attention and venom of a group of radicalized academics known as “l’Observatoire du décolonialisme”. There is obvious resonance with the events bringing gender studies, critical race theory and anti-fascist scholarship under siege in a large number of other countries, from India to Brazil by way of Europe and North America: it therefore seems necessary to connect all these experiences to reflect, beyond local specificities, on ways we can gain strength from international networks set up to defend academic integrity and resist (geo)political pressure while remaining staunchly on the side of the most vulnerable in our societies: asylum seekers, religious and sexual minorities, racialized and working-class youths and elders, the disabled, the homeless… All these groups have paid a heavy tribute to the ongoing pandemic and reasserting our solidarity with their struggles seems to be the starting point for renewed engaged geographical scholarship, even as we use our insight as geographers to insist that no worldwide pandemic can be dealt with at a scale that is not global.
Beyond a discussion of recent events in France in a highly fraught time of presidential elections, this paper aims to consider how new coalitions and alternatives can emerge from geographic analyses of the current crises that include insights on climate and the environment, as well as health and the preservation of life, with political critique of white supremacism, patriarchy and capitalism.
Mots clés : France|fascism|supremacism|solidarity|alternatives