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Franco-Scottish Society of Scotland Lecture (ex Lansdowne Lecture)




Saturday 10 November 2018 – 11.00 am

Hilton-Edinburgh-Carlton, 19 North Bridge, EH1 1SD




“Laïcité, religion and identity in contemporary France”

French secularism (laïcité) has been the subject of intense controversy in the last three decades.  Some see it as a sophisticated form of state racism; others argue that it is a necessary foundation for citizenship.  But most discussions of laïcité lack historical depth and give little sense of its diverse origins. Using the example of the Islamic headscarf, our guest lecturer will untangle the many meanings of laïcité, and explain more clearly how and why the French remain so attached to this very particular political tradition.


Dr. Emile Chabal, University of Edinburgh.


Emile Chabal is a reader in History at the University of Edinburgh.  His research has focused on France especially the transformation of French politics since the 1970s, Franco-British relations in the 20th century and the legacy of post-colonialism in France.  He is the author of A Divided Republic: nation, state and citizenship in contemporary France, (Cambridge University Press 2015) the editor of France since the 1970s: history, politics and memory in an age of uncertainty,(Bloomsbury, 2014) and  has published many articles in Contemporary European History, Geschichte und Gesellschaft and the Historical Journal.


Dr Chabal



Further details can be found on his website: http://www.homepages.ed.ac.uk/echabal/

Entrance: Free by invitation. Registration required. Contact – secretaryfsss@btinternet.com

Scottish Charity no: SCO 02507   www.franco-scottish.org.uk



More about the Franco-Scottish Society Lectures

Since 1988, the Franco-Scottish Society of Scotland has organised a biennial Lecture, “The Lansdowne Lecture”, given in English on a Franco-Scottish or French theme by an eminent speaker. (See list below).  The lecture is organised for members of the Franco-Scottish Society of Scotland and guests.  Entrance is free but registration is necessary.  Traditionally the lecture takes place in Glasgow, Perth and Edinburgh in rotation and in November.


2018 is a “lecture year” and it is Edinburgh’s turn to host the event which will also see a change of title and sponsorship.  The lecture is now entitled “The Franco-Scottish Society Lecture”.  This year it will be financed through donations from former members of the Edinburgh Branch of the Franco-Scottish Society.  The venue is the Hilton Edinburgh Carlton Hotel, 19 Waverley Bridge EH1, the date and time Saturday 10th November 2018 at 11.00 am, with registration from 10h30 with  coffee/tea available.


We are honoured to have Dr Emile Chabal, Reader in History at the University of Edinburgh as our guest speaker.  His research has focused on France, especially the transformation of French politics since the 1970s, Franco-British relations in the 20th century and the legacy of post-colonialism in France.

The title chosen is Laïcité, religion and identity in contemporary France, a topic very much in vogue.


Previous Lansdowne Lectures

1988 M Michel Duchein, Inspecteur Général des Archives de France,  “Marie de Guise”
1989 Prof Silvere Monod, Université, Paris 3 « Johnson and Boswell’s Tour of Scotland »
1991 M Luc de la Barre de Nanteuil“David”
1993 Mr Charles McKean, Secretary of RIAS « Scottish Renaissance Architecture »
1995 Sir David Edward, European Court of Justice, “Justice in Europe”
1996 Prof Alan Steele, University of Edinburgh, “Some French Impressions of Scotland”
1998 Prof Jacques Leruez CBE “Auld Alliance, New Alliances: Scotland and France in Europe next century”
2000 Prof Sian Reynolds, “Patrick Geddes and the Exposition Universelle in Paris”
2002 HE The French Ambassador, Jean Guéguinou“Cultural Diversity: France’s Strategy, Europe’s Ambitions”
2004 Prof Hew Strachen, All Souls College, Oxford “Cemented by War: the Entente Cordiale and the First World War”
2006 Dr Jamie Reid Baxter, “George Buchanan: Scotland’s Voice in France”
2008 Philip Long, Senior Curator, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, “The Scottish Colourists”
2010 Prof Pamela Robertson “Rennie Mackintosh in Port Vendres”
2012 HE The French Ambassador , Bernard Emié, “The UK and France, two major players in Europe and the World”
2014 Profs Philippe Contamine and James Laidlaw, “Two Kingdoms in Peril: Scotland and France (1418-1429)
2016 Dr Frances Fowle, International Director, Edinburgh College of Art, “Alex Reid and the Scottish Taste for French 19th century  Art”