This website is an interactive academic
tool for CEA-UNH course:
Gay Paris:
Culture, Society, & Urban Sexual Identity

CEA GlobalCampus | Spring 2009
UNH Course Code: GEN230
Credits: 3 | Location: Paris, France

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Queer French | Chapter 5: Gay Paris: Language, Sexuality and Space in the French Capital

excerpts taken from: Queer French: Globalization, Language, and Sexual Citizenship in France
_Denis M. Provencher

Recent scholarship has observed the emergence of the city as the economic and cultural center in the modern period and underscores the connection between the Western city and globalization...Scholars also maintain that globalization helps shape the character of the modern city, and in turn the city affects the pace and form of globalization...Major cities have emerged as a strategic site not only for global capital but also for the formation of transnational identities (p. 149).

What does this have to do with our "identity" discussions employing Foucault and other theorists?

Large cities draw these identities. Paris, for example, has become home to a high number of French homosexuals in recent decades, and 46 percent of France's gay men lived in Paris in the early 1990s...many write of the 'importance of getting one's gay self to a big city' (p. 150, 151).

Specifically, Paris' gay neighborhood Le Marais serves as a canonical gay reference or 'lieu de mémoire' for many of France's homosexual citizens (p. 153).

Situating Gay Paris in Historical and Contemporary Contexts

Scholars have traced the emergence of various homosexual establishments between 1880 and 1920 in northern Paris in the district of Montmartre, which has been qualified as the 'center of anarchism, Bohemianism and illicit sexuality.' During the interwar period, gay venues spread to other parts of the city to include bars and nightclubs on the Champs-Elysées and on the Left Bank at Montparnasse as well as in working-class dance-halls on the Rue de Lappe near Place de la Bastille. In contrast to gay Berlin of this same era, which remained largely separate from the larger urban landscape, gay Paris remained mainly a mixed (hetero and homo) space as Paris' homosexuals frequented many of the same bars and nightclubs as other French citizens. With the emergence of French existentialism in post-war France of the 1950s, gay bars, nightclubs and restaurants such as Le Fiacre on Rue du Cherche-Midi eventually emerged on Paris' Left Bank in the district of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, however, gay night life would eventually return to the Right Bank in the 1970s on the Rue Sainte-Anne between the Palais Royal and the Opera House. The 1980s and 1990s brought about another urban shift, marked by visibility whereby Le Marais and les Halles developed the heaviest concentration of gay-oriented bars and restaurants in the city and replaced many of those found in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Montmartre and the streets around Sainte-Anne. Le Marais celebrates gay visibility (p. 155).

In this chapter, the author cites that there are 185 gay venues throughout the city...(p. 158).

The author asks many of his 'informants' to draw their own gay/lesbian maps of Paris. Analyze these maps - how are they different based on the particular situation of the person drawing the map? French-male/lesbian/Jewish/Beur..

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