France at War in the Second Twentieth Century: Contemporary representations and memories, 2000–2017




                    Convenors Anne Bernou, Andrea Brazzoduro, Fabien Théofilakis

In 2017, 70 years after the Second World War and 50 years after the Algerian war of independence, we can be surprised by the effervescence of memory which, at the beginning of the 21st century, makes us present, unequally according to the conflicts – ‘too much memory here, not enough there’ – at these events. The legacy of these pasts does not only concern military history but also testifies to the evolution of the historiographical and societal view of these conflicts, apprehended, moreover, in an increasingly differential way according to the generations involved.

On 18th June 1960, General de Gaulle inaugurates the Memorial of the fighting France at Mont Valérien, on 25th January 2005 the Memorial of the Shoah is inaugurated in Paris by President Jacques Chirac, while on 16th October 2015 Prime Minister Emmanuel Valls inaugurates the Camp de Rivesaltes Memorial. Between these dates, the perception of the Second World War shows a remarkable evolution: to the celebration of the memory of the Resistance, succeeds that of the memory of the deportation structured on a ‘duty of memory’ centered on the extermination of the Jews of Europe while, more recently, the crisis of the heroic national memories generates a plural memory of the Second World conflict. For its part, the Algerian war of independence, which was for a long time a ‘non–war’, still remains on the sidelines of memory policies that are slow to ensure a regime of commemoration. Contrary to the plural but now consensual memories of the World Wars, this still highly conflicting memory illustrates the difficulty that French society has, in a postcolonial context, in accepting the plurality of warlike experiences.

In this framework, the conference invites one to question the representations – symbolic, political, architectural, artistic... – that these different past conflicts have nourished since the beginning of the 21st Century, and to highlight memory dynamics that invest the public space.



Registration required:

Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne (Centre Panthéon, salle 1), 12 place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris

Metro access: line 10 (stop Cluny La Sorbonne); line 4 (stop Saint-Michel or Odéon)

RER access: line B (stop Luxembourg); RER C (stop Saint-Michel)



9h00 – 9h15: Registration


9h15 – 9h30: Opening remarks

Anne Bernou – Andrea Brazzoduro – Fabien Théofilakis


9h30 – 10h00: Memory of the wars of the Second Twentieth Century (France): Introductory reflections

François Azouvi (EHESS-CNRS)


10h00 – 12h00 : War memorials as ‘lieux de mémoire’


Panel 1           

Chair: Rémy Bazenguissa-Ganga (Institut des mondes africains)

Anne Bonamy (Mémorial de l’internement et de la déportation. Camp de Royalieu)

Antoine Grande (Hauts Lieux de la mémoire nationale d'Île-de-France)

Rudy Ricciotti (architecte, concepteur et réalisateur du mémorial de Rivesaltes)


Panel 2          

Chair: Fabien Théofilakis (CHS, S-IRICE, Université Paris 1)

Jean-Noël Grandhomme (Université de Lorraine à Nancy) - The Mémorial de l’Alsace-Moselle and the ‘Mur des Noms’ or the difficulty of creating a ‘consensual’ memory

Marc André (GRHIS, Université de Rouen) - When the memories of the World War serve Algerian memories: the case of the patrimonialization of the Mémorial de Montluc (2009-2017)

Hayes Oonagh (GESIS, Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne; Université de Tübingen) - ‘You, soldiers from other continents’: Inclusion and exclusion in the memory of the Algerian war. Case study of the departmental monument


12h00 – 13h30: Lunch


13h30 – 15h30: Memories of wars and contemporary plastic art production (2000-2017)


Panel 3           

Chair: Anne Bernou

Tania Mouraud (artist)

Jean-Marc Cerino (artist, École des Beaux-Arts, Nîmes)

Jérôme Zonder (artist)


Panel 4           

Chair: Sylvie Thénault (CHS, CNRS - Université Paris 1)

Petra Bopp (BildEvidenz, Freie Universität Berlin) - Speak–Listen. See–do not see. The works of Ester Shalev-Gerz in France after the 2000s

émilie Goudal (Gerda Henkel Stiftung, LabexMed, Centre Norbert Elias, CNRS-EHESS) - On the violence of history. Artistic representations of the Algerian war of independence fifty years after

Sylvie Coellier (Université d’Aix-en-Provence) - Violence. Reflections on the war through the work of Adel Abdessemed


15h30 – 16h00: Break


16h00 – 18h00: Wars of yesteday, inauguration of today


Panel 5           

Chair: Tramor Quemeneur (Université Paris 8)

Michel Lefebvre (journalist, Le Monde)

Damien Baldin (Mission du Centenaire de la Première Guerre mondiale)

Xavier Jacquey (4acg, Anciens Appelés en Algérie et leurs Amis Contre la Guerre)


Panel 6          

Chair: Andrea Brazzoduro (University of Oxford)

Sébastien Ledoux (CHS, Université Paris 1) - Duty of memory or work of memory? Choice of formulas in political speeches

Julie Le Gac (Université Paris Nanterre), Claire Miot (Service historique de la Défense) - ‘To the youth of Africa’ the grateful homeland? Commemorating the colonized soldiers of Italy and Provence in 2014


18h00 – 18h30: General discussion


18h30 – 19h00: Closing remarks

Annette Becker (Université Paris Nanterre)




Anne Bernou (

Andrea Brazzoduro, University of Oxford (

Fabien Théofilakis, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne (


International advisory board

Alya Aglan, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, S-IRICE

Annette Becker, Université Paris Nanterre

Raphaëlle Branche, Université de Rouen

Corine Defrance, CNRS - Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, S-IRICE, LabEx EHNE

Laurence Bertrand Dorléac, Sciences Po Paris

Thierry Dufrêne, Université Paris Nanterre, INHA

Robert Gildea, University of Oxford

Itzhak Goldberg, professeur émérite, Université Jean Monnet, Saint-Étienne

François-Xavier Nérard, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, S-IRICE, LabEx EHNE

Natalya Vince, University of Portsmouth