International Conference: The United States, a Divided Society

23rd-24th May at the Université Catholique de Lille (France)

On line registration : Colloque international : Les Etats-Unis, une société divisée

In 1991, James Davison Hunter, in his work entitled Culture Wars, explains that “America is in the midst of a culture war that has had and will continue to have reverberations not only within public policy but within the lives of ordinary Americans everywhere”.[4] Ever since, this phenomenon has reached all areas of American society. Parliamentary democracy, the founding principle of the country, has itself been concerned since the 6th January 2021 when protestors occupied Congress in the hope of changing the results of the presidential election, with the temporary consent of a very large minority of the electorate. Equally, on 24th June 2022, the Supreme Court decision to remove the constitutional right to abortion, enacted in Roe vs Wade (1973), has led to contrasted reactions, angry or elated, in the entire nation as the New York Times[5] makes clear. This has revealed a profound division in the country around a crucial matter for society and particularly for women. Yet, the United-States, from the very beginning, has sought to be a united, homogenous society, seeing itself as a melting pot rather than a mosaic, a place where American identity would triumph over every division linked to the origins of the population.

In his last novel published in June 2023, entitled Et c’est ainsi que nous vivrons (And That Is How We Shall Live), Douglas Kennedy depicts an America separated into two states.[6] Speculative novels, for better or worse, present one aspect of this subject, as well as reflections upon a past marked by the Civil War, which took place in the United States between 1861 and 1865 but continues to leave marks. More generally, we propose to study this American society and its divisions from all points of view: religious, political, social, cultural, ethnic, territorial, economic and technological.

We are looking for papers lasting 20 to 25 minutes, in English or in French. Proposals of 250 to 300 words accompanied by a short biography should be sent to and before 15th October 2023. All approaches to the subject are welcomed: historical, political, cultural (literary, artistic, cinematographic…), judicial, economic, and social, religious, ethnic, etc. We shall reply by January 1st 2024 at the latest. We welcome proposals from experienced researchers, doctoral and other graduate students.

Lieu : Maison des chercheurs de l’Université Catholique de Lille, 14 bd Vauban à Lille.


Thursday 23 May

9.15 -9.45 am Registration and Coffee
9.45am – Welcome and notices

10am – Panel 1 chaired by
a) Marion Charret-Del Bove (Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3), « Les manifestations discursives et juridiques d’une
Amérique divisée : le cas du droit à l’avortement »
b) Loïc Laroche (Université Catholique de Lille), « La nouvelle place des minorités dans la presse américaine
depuis l’avènement de Black Lives Matter »
11am – Coffee break

11.15am – Plenary Session chaired by Suzanne Bray (Université Catholique de Lille)
Richard Johnson (Queen Mary, University of London), “Colour-Blind Utopianism and Affirmative Action”
12.15 – Lunch

1.45pm – Panel 2 chaired by Gérald Préher (Université d’Artois)
a) Sean Mark & Alix Rogé (Université Catholique de Lille), “The Suburbs as Sites of Division in Jeffrey
Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides».
b) Emma Harlet (Université de Louisiane à Lafayette / Université Bordeaux-Montaigne) “Writing Creoleness:
Exploring Identity in Late 19th Century Louisiana Literature”
2.45pm – Coffee break

3pm – Panel 3 chaired by Loïc Laroche (Université Catholique de Lille)
a) Marie-Christine Michaud (Université Bretagne Sud, Lorient), « Entre division et réunion.
Les Italo-Américains et les Chinois de New York »
b) Anne Urbanowski (Université de Tours), « Africains Américains et Latinos aux États-Unis : une alliance
impossible ? »
c) Jérôme Roudier (Université Catholique de Lille), « La Société états-unienne divisée au prisme du regard
machiavélien : de la division comme dynamique »
7.30 pm – Dîner festif / Conference Dinner

Friday 24 May

9.30am – Panel 4 chaired by Mokhtar Ben Barka (Université Polytechnique des Hauts de France)
a) Talal Hochard (Université de Lorraine in Metz), “The U.S. Alternative Media Sphere:
Contemporary Efforts by Legacy Media to Safeguard Division and Silence Dissent”
b) Mehmet Sebih Oruc (University of Newcastle) “Politicians on Instagram: Celebrification, Affective Personas, and
Divisive Discourses – A Comparative Analysis of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez”
c) Maxime Chervaux (Institut français de Géopolitique, Université Paris 8), “Republican Strategies in a Changing Electoral
Landscape: Redistricting and its Double-Edged Impact in Texas
11am – Coffee Break

11.15am – Panel 5, chaired by Jérôme Roudier (Université Catholique de Lille)
a) Jean-Marie Ruiz (Université Savoie Mont Blanc), « La place de la politique étrangère dans la polarisation politique
actuelle aux Etats-Unis »
b) Eglantine Zatout (l’Université Lyon 3) « Enjeux et positionnement rhétorique d’un groupe de familles LGBTQ+ dans les
guerres culturelles »
b) Raphaël Eppreh-Butet (Université de Lille), « Politique d’immigration aux Etats-Unis : un sujet de division entre
démocrates et républicains au Congrès »
12.45pm – Lunch

2pm – Panel 6, chaired by Raphaël Eppreh-Butet (Université de Lille)
a) Suzanne Bray and Névé Brison (Université Catholique de Lille), “Donald Trump: A Source of Division for White
American Evangelicals”
b) Mokhtar Ben Barka (Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France), «La polarisation de la vie politique et sociale
américaine : l’exemple de la Droite chrétienne »
3pm – Coffee Break

3.15pm – Table Ronde / Discussion chaired by Suzanne Bray (Université Catholique de Lille) with Pierre Mélandri
(Sciences Po, Paris), Mokhtar Ben Barka (Université Polytechnique de Hauts-de-France), Raphaël Eppreh-Butet (Université
de Lille) & Loïc Laroche (Université Catholique de Lille)

4pm – Conclusion


Suzanne Bray, Loïc Laroche.

Academic committee:

Mokhtar Ben Barka (Université Polytechnique des Hauts de France), Suzanne Bray (Université Catholique de Lille), Raphaël Eppreh-Butet (Université de Lille), Loïc Laroche (Université Catholique de Lille).

On line registration : Colloque international : Les Etats-Unis, une société divisée

Registration fees: 50€ (20€ for students). This includes two lunches and dinner on the 23rd.


[1] HUNTER, James Davison, Culture Wars: The Struggle to Define America. New York, Basic Books, 1991, p. 34.

[2] LIPTAK, Adam, « Roe overturned, In a 6-to-3 Ruling, Supreme Court Ends Nearly 50 Years of Abortion Rights », New York Times, 25 juin 2022, p. A1.

[3] KENNEDY, Douglas, Et c’est ainsi que nous vivrons, traduit de l’anglais par Chloé Royer. Paris, Belfond, 2023.

[4] HUNTER, James Davison, Culture Wars : The Struggle to Define America. New York, Basic Books, 1991, p.34.

[5] « Supreme Court Rules on Abortion », New York Times, June 24th 2022.

[6] KENNEDY, Douglas, Et c’est ainsi que nous vivrons, translated from the English by Chloé Royer. Paris, Belfond, 2023.