New Books Network

Leslie Kealhofer-Kemp

Muslim Women in French Cinema

Voices of Maghrebi Migrants in France

Liverpool University Press 2016

New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in FilmNew Books in French StudiesNew Books in Islamic StudiesNew Books in Middle Eastern StudiesNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network January 18, 2018 Kristian Petersen

Connections between France and North Africa have long been shaped by colonialism, nationalism, and economics. This intercultural relationship has also been mediated through the...

Connections between France and North Africa have long been shaped by colonialism, nationalism, and economics. This intercultural relationship has also been mediated through the arts. In Muslim Women in French Cinema: Voices of Maghrebi Migrants in France (Liverpool University Press, 2016), Leslie Kealhofer-Kemp, Assistant Professor of French at the University of Rhode Island, examines one population who has often been left out of these cultural formations. Kemp focuses on the representation of first-generation Maghrebi women in France in documentaries, short films, feature films, and telefilms. Her analysis revolves around filmic textual analysis and the production, audience reception, and distribution of these art forms in contemporary French society. Kemp is attuned to filmic genre conventions, narrative structures, and formal techniques that media producers and artists use to both appeal to large mainstream audiences while challenging dominant stereotypes about Muslims. In our conversation we discussed views of North Africans in French society, means for recovering voice in film, the role of religion in French cinema, the mediation of subjects in documentary films, the role of objects in voicing difference, expressing agency of women protagonists, the goals of dialogue and voiceover versus body language or non-verbal communication, and film’s ability to challenge dominant stereotypes in France.


Kristian Petersen is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska Omaha. He is the author of Interpreting Islam in China: Pilgrimage, Scripture, and Language in the Han Kitab (Oxford University Press, 2017). He is currently working on a monograph entitled The Cinematic Lives of Muslims, and is the editor of the forthcoming volumes Muslims in the Movies: A Global Anthology (ILEX Foundation) and New Approaches to Islam in Film (Routledge). You can find out more about his work on his website, follow him on Twitter @BabaKristian, or email him at kjpetersen@unomaha.edu.