Table-ronde – Séverine Mathieu au NYU Institute of French Studies pour discuter de l’ouvrage « The privilege of Being Banal: Art, Secularism and Catholicism in Paris » – 28 septembre 2022


Book Discussion. The Privilege of Being Banal: Art, Secularism, and Catholicism in Paris
(The University of Chicago Press, 2021)
by Elayne Oliphant

In-person Roundtable Conversation

Date: Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.

Location: La Maison Française of New York University
16, Washington Mews, New York NY 10003.


In-person event restricted to NYU faculty, students and employees.
With author Elayne Oliphant. Comments by Kimberly Arkin (Boston University), Séverine Mathieu (Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes). Moderated by Frédéric Viguier (NYU).

Elayne Oliphant (Anthropology and Religious Studies, NYU) works on the role of religion in the maintenance and upending of privilege and inequality.

Kimberly Arkin (Anthropology, Boston University) explores the surprising ways that a powerful and meaningful fiction of the French national community—whether ethno-racial, cultural, and/or moral—has been produced, contested, and reproduced in the years following the turn of the millennium. She is the author of Rhinestones, Religion, and the Republic: Fashioning Jewishness in France (2013).

Séverine Mathieu (Sociology of religion, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris) studies the interactions between religions and biotechnologies, especially with regard to reproduction. She is the author of several books, including Faire famille aujourd’hui. PMA, bioéthique et religion (Le Cavalier Bleu, 2020).


France, officially, is a secular nation. Yet Catholicism is undeniably a monumental presence, defining the temporal and spatial rhythms of Paris. At the same time, it often fades into the background as nothing more than “heritage.” In a creative inversion, Elayne Oliphant asks in The Privilege of Being Banal what, exactly, is hiding in plain sight? Could the banality of Catholicism actually be a kind of hidden power?


This event will be held in English.


(source : liste de diffusion Maison Française of NYU)

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