Beth Epstein’s research focuses on intersections in the history and meaning of race and “difference” between France and the United States, and the way these relate to the perception of troubles in the French banlieue. She also examines questions of civic life, and the way these are inflected through urban policy and practice in France. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in both rural and urban France, and taught numerous courses on social issues in contemporary French society. In 1993 she co-directed the documentary film Kofi chez les Français about a man of Togolese origin who was elected mayor of a small village in rural Brittany and subsequently became known as a national symbol of “perfect integration.” It was work on this film that largely inspired her dissertation research on integration in France. Her book Collective Terms: Race, Culture & Community in a State-Planned City in France was published in 2011 by Berghahn Books. Other publications include “Redemptive Politics: Racial Reasoning in Contemporary France” (forthcoming in Patterns of Prejudice), and “Régime moral dans la sphère publique: intégration et discrimination dans une ville nouvelle française,” in Parallaxes transatlantiques: pour une anthropologie réciproque, edited by Anne Raulin and Susan Carol Rogers (CNRS Editions, 2012). She is a member of the Comité du Film Ethnographique in Paris and co-director of a research seminar on race and globalization organized in collaboration with the Université de Paris I. At NYUParis she has been instrumental in developing academic programs and in building opportunities for students to benefit from the immersion possibilities of studying overseas.
A.B. Anthropology, Princeton University, 1984 M.A. Anthropology, New York University, 1991 Ph.D. Anthropology, New York University, 1998