Gens de Paris / People of Paris : A soundwalks collection to rediscover Paris and its story through the voices of its former inhabitants

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 - 16:30

University Room: 

The George and Irina Schaeffer Center for the Study of Genocide, Human Rights and Conflict Prevention are pleased to host an evening with Sarah Gensburger. Sociologist of memory and historian of the Shoah in Paris, she is one half of the team who created the collection of soundwalks Gens de Paris.

Gens de Paris is a collection of soundwalks recounting events that took place on this street corner, in the shade of that tree, in that building over there. Based on the lives of former inhabitants, it tells the stories from their perspectives. It aims to cover all time periods, places and themes, as long as there are characters to bring the past to life and in-depth historical research to give them meaning, situating them in their social context.

Each story is born of a dialogue, precious and unprecedented, between a historian and an author. It thus calls on the imagination and emotion of today’s visitors in order to bring these former Parisians back to life. Available both in French and English, the documentary stories created by Gens de Paris will be eventually available as an app, designed to transform our relationship to the town and its past. Each thematic soundwalk will be the object of a public, private or associative partnership. Gens de Paris was born from the works and experiences of Isabelle Backouche and Sarah Gensburger.

Isabelle Backouche is a historian, research director at the EHESS, and member of the Paris City Council’s History Committee. She is a specialist of urban history. She is the author of La Trace du Fleuve. Paris et la Seine (EHESS, 2016) and Paris transformé. Le Marais 1900-1980 : de l’îlot insalubre au secteur sauvegardé (Créaphis, 2016).

Sarah Gensburger is a researcher at the CNRS. She a sociologist of memory and a historian of the Shoah in Paris. She is the author of Witnessing the Robbing of the Jews. A photographic album, Paris 1940-1944 (Indiana University Press, 2016) and C'étaient des enfants. Déportation et sauvetage des enfants juifs à Paris (Skira-Flammarion, 2012).

Gens de Paris

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