Sylvie Tissot

Program FULL: OCT 23 - NOV 7, 2015
US TOUR
Sylvie Tissot

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Sylvie Tissot is a Professor of Political Science at the University of Paris-8.

Her academic research stands at the intersection of class analysis and urban studies.

Tissot is the author of Good Neighbors: Gentrifying diversity in Boston’s South End, recently published by Verso. Her new research project is a comparison of gay-friendly attitudes in New York and Paris.

She has been a visiting scholar at Harvard’s Center for European Studies and the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University.

Tissot is also a feminist activist and filmmaker. As the co-founder of the website Les mots sont importants (http://lmsi.net), she is engaged in public debates about feminism, race and religion. With her sister Florence Tissot, she has made two documentaries about the French feminist Christine Delphy, I’m Not a Feminist, But… and Christine Delphy From A to  Z.

Lectures offered in French / English

Class conflicts express themselves in city environments. In recent decades, as gentrification has expanded, working-class neighborhoods have become highly sought-after areas. One surprising characteristic of the middle and upper class residents who move into these neighborhoods is their taste for "diversity." In Good Neighbors, a case study of gentrification in Boston, Sylvie Tissot explores the lifestyle and local engagement of gentrifiers who endorse openness and tolerance, but exercise this value with a great deal of caution. She describes the way this curious combination of inclusion and exclusion has reorganized class relations.

2) What is “French Feminism”? Christine Delphy and Material Feminism

What is known as “French Feminism” in the US is a very peculiar feminism: influenced by literary studies and psychoanalysis, this feminism is seen in other schools of thought as “essentialist”. Rather than promoting a “feminine” language as Hélène Cixous does, Christine Delphy applied a constructionist approach to gender relations. In that perspective, gender is a position in a specific mode of production (domestic labor). One of the founders of the French Women’s Liberation Movement, as well as the “Red Lesbians” in the early 1970s, Delphy has remained relatively unknown in the US. Sylvie Tissot’s 52-minute documentary film I’m Not a Feminist, But… sheds light on the political and theoretical contributions of this major figure of second-wave feminism in France.

3) Gay-Friendliness in the United States and France: A Comparative Study of Neighborhoods in New York and Paris

The national legislature in France and the Supreme Court in the US have now both made same-sex marriage legal, and opinion polls reveal a growing acceptance of homosexuality in both countries. Yet not all gay people enjoy equal access to this acceptance. What are the significant variables in acceptance: class, age, sex, space? And on what presuppositions about gay people does acceptance rely? What conditions are placed on the visibility and lifestyle of gay people? Sylvie Tissot uses the urban ethnography of two neighborhoods—Le Marais in Paris and Park Slope in Brooklyn, New York—to examine and compare “gay-friendliness”.

About the book Good Neighbors: Gentrifying Diversity in Boston’s South End

by Sylvie Tissot, translated by David Broder & Catherine Romatowski
(Verso 2015)

What do we talk about when we talk about gentrification? Does gentrification destroy diversity? Or does it thrive on it? Boston’s South End, a legendary working-class neighborhood with the largest Victorian brick row house district in the United States and a celebrated reputation for diversity, has become in recent years a flashpoint for the problems of gentrification. It has born witness to the kind of rapid transformation leading to pitched battles over the class and race politics throughout the country and indeed the contemporary world.

This subtle study of a storied urban neighborhood reveals the way that upper-middle-class newcomers have positioned themselves as champions of diversity, and how their mobilization around this key concept has reordered class divisions rather than abolished them.

Selected Bibliography / Filmography

In English
-Good Neighbors: Gentrifying Diversity in Boston’s South End (Verso, 2015)

In French
-De bons voisins. Enquête dans un quartier de la bourgeoisie progressiste (Raisons d’Agir, 2011)
-La dimension spatiale des inégalités. Regards croisés des sciences sociales (Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2011 ; written w/ I. Backouche, F. Ripoll & V. Veschambre)
-L’État et les quartiers. Genèse d’une catégorie d’action publique (Seuil, 2007)
-Les Reconversions militantes, (Presses Universitaires de Limoges, 2005 ; written w/ C. Gaubert & MH Lechien)
Mots à maux. Dictionnaire de la lepénisation des esprits (Dagorno, 1998 ; written w/ P. Tevanian)
-Stop quelle violence? (Éditions L'esprit frappeur, 2001)
-Les mots sont importants (Éditions Libertalia, 2000)
-Universitas calamitatum : le livre noir des réformes universitaires, (Éditions du Croquant, 2003 ; written w/ the collective Abelard)

Dates Booked

OCT 27 at 11:45AM
Gay-Friendliness in the United States and France: A Comparative Study of Neighborhoods in New York and Paris
Macalester College

OCT 27 at  7PM
Film Screening and discussion “Je ne suis pas feminist mais…" 
Alliance Française Minneapolis/St Paul

OCT 29 at 6PM
Gay-Friendliness in the United States and France: A Comparative Study of Neighborhoods in New York and Paris
Webster University

OCT 30 at 3PM
Good Neighbors: A case study of gentrification in Boston
University of Cincinnati

NOV 4 at 3PM
Talk as part of City Cité

University of Illinois at Chicago 

NOV 5 at 6:30PM
Reflection on Good Neighbors
United South End Settlements, Boston

NOV 6 at 3PM
Amherst College
601 Herter at UMass Amherst
http://frenchculture.org/books/news/sylvie-tissot-diversity-and-gentrification