Unlike 9/11, the terrorist attacks that struck Paris in January and November 2015 did not destroy and alter the architecture of the city. In a way, Paris’s public spaces could be said to bear no physical traces of the events, which happened in multiple sites, at two different times. Each time, most of the attacks took place in the same lively and densely inhabited neighborhood, which could be named after what became its symbolic center, “Republic Square.” This paradoxical situation of widespread traumatic experiences that left no physical trace led to a large diversity of expressions of memory in the city’s public spaces. Sociologists Sarah Gensburger and Gerome Truc’s ongoing research project examines social reactions to terrorist attacks (see https://reat.hypotheses.org). Their talk will take stock of current ethnographic fieldwork on social reactions to the Paris attacks, and of the study of tributes to the victims left at memorial sites.
Cosponsored by the Charlie Archive at Harvard Library.