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Melissa K. Byrnes F'08, F'07

Melissa K. Byrnes

Assistant Professor
History
Southwestern University
last updated: 08/21/14

Mellon/ACLS Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowships 2008
Doctoral Candidate
Georgetown University
Politics, Proximity, and Identity: Municipal Reactions to North African Migrants in the Suburbs of Paris and Lyon, 1945-75

After World War II, North African migrants poured into French urban areas. This examination of four suburbs around Paris and Lyon details different migrant welfare and housing policies, evaluating each city’s successes and failures in integrating its North African residents, and emphasizes the multiplicity of French strategies to cope with so many newcomers. Tracing the realtionships between city governments and other state institutions reveals further disparities between national, regional, and local levels of policy–making, while analyzing local geography and its intersection with political decision-making highlights the role of physical proximity in determining community reactions to migrants. The particular experiences of two communist municipalities provide a more nuanced picture of the relationship between North African workers and the French left. Finally, this view from below calls attention to the influence of the Algerian War, and subsequent decolonization, on local and national policies towards North African migrants in France.

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2007
Doctoral Candidate
Georgetown University
French Like Us?: Municipal Policies and North African Migrants in the Parisian Banlieues, 1945-75

The Parisian suburbs of Saint-Denis and Asnières-sur-Seine each reacted quite differently to the North African migrants arriving in their communities over the three decades following the Second World War. Critical examination of the divergent social welfare and housing policies pursued by each city reveals their respective success and failures in integrating these newcomers and highlights the gap between rhetoric and results. The web of relationships between the municipalities and other government institutions offers insight into the disparities between national and local levels of policy-making, while contrasts between the two communities reflect the influence of population distribution and local geography on political decision-making. Saint-Denis further stands as an excellent case study not only for the complex relationship between Communists and migrant workers, but also for the impact of the Algerian War, and subsequent decolonization, on local and national policies towards North African migrants in France.