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City/Cité St Louis at the Missouri History Museum

Part of City / Cité St. Louis

City/Cité St. Louis is the fourth event in the series, “City/Cité: A Transatlantic Exchange,” launched by the French association Métro-Univers-Cité and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Chicago in 2015, in collaboration with partners in France and the United States.

Free and open to the public but registration is required

Program of Events 

2:30 pm: Welcome, Introduction and Opening Remarks

3:00 pm – 4:30 pm: Reimagining Cities: Histories for the Present
Historians in recent years have revitalized our understanding of cities by uncovering previously untold stories of historically and socially marginalized groups in both France and the United States. By grappling with the shadowy histories of colonialism, immigration, and race, they have demonstrated how power relations have shaped and constrained the lives of urban residents. This panel brings together cutting edge historians for a transatlantic discussion of the past, present, and future of urban spaces.


  • Walter Johnson, Harvard University
  • Priscilla Dowden-White, University of Missouri - Saint Louis
  • Ahmed Boubeker, Université Jean Monnet
  • Kristen Layne Anderson, Webster University
  • Moderator - Thomas Sugrue, New York University

5:00 – 6:30 pm: Engaging History, Engaging Memory: Museums and Their Publics
In a moment of heightened political and cultural polarization, museums face new challenges in countering distortions and misuses of the past. How can museums incorporate voices on the margins of history and historical debates? How can they reconcile conflicting visions of the past? This session gathers curators and historians in a transatlantic conversation about the challenges faced by public historians in engaging history and memory.


  • Hélène Orain, Musée nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration
  • Keona Ervin, University of Missouri – Columbia
  • Frances Levine, Missouri History Museum
  • Naima Yahi, URMIS/CNRS
  • Moderator: Warren Rosenblum, Webster University 

6:30 pm: Cocktail Hour

7:30 pm: Screening of "City & the City" – Mariam Ghani + Q&A

Click here for an excerpt of the film

Participant Biographies

Walter Johnson is an American historian who researches the history of slavery, capitalism, white supremacy, Black resistance, and US imperialism. In addition to his work as a historian, Dr. Johnson serves as a professor at Harvard University and as director of the Charles Warren Center at Harvard University. 

Priscilla Dowden-White is an associate professor of history at University of Missouri St. Louis. Author of the text Groping toward Democracy: African American Social Welfare Reform in St. Louis, 1910-1949, Dr. Johnson's scholarly interests include social welfare and civic activism among African Americans during the interwar period of WWI and WWII.

Ahmed Boubeker is a professor of sociology at the Université Jean Monnet. His research focuses on urban sociology, the sociology of migrations, and the sociology of social intervention. He is known for research of North African communities living in France. 

Kristen Layne Anderson is an associate professor of history at Webster University. She specializes in 19th century U.S. social history, in particular the participation of immigrants in the Civil War and debates over slavery. 

Hélène Orain is the director of the Palais de la porte dorée at the Musée national de l'histoire de l'immigration. Her academic degrees include a postgraduate degree in sociology and a masters degree in applied economic.

Keona Ervin is an Assistant Professor of African-American History and Faculty Affiliate in the Department of Black Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Ervin’s teaching interests include black freedom movement studies, urban history, black women’s history, and U.S. labor and working-class history. 

Frances Levine is the president and CEO of the Missouri History Museum. Previously the director of the New Mexico History Museum, her background is in ethnohistory has a strong background in the history of westward expansion.

Naima Yahi is a French historian and current director of the Pangée Network in Paris. She has specific interests in the cultural histories and emigrations from the Maghreb. Further, she has completed research on history and memory of the Algerian immigrations to France. 

City/Cité St. Louis is the fourth event in the series, “City/Cité: A Transatlantic Exchange,” launched by the French association Métro-Univers-Cité and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in Chicago in 2015, in collaboration with partners in France and the United States. This three-day event is scheduled on October 18-20, 2018, in several venues throughout St. Louis.

 City/Cité St. Louis brings together influential French scholars, activists, performers, policymakers, and non-profit leaders and their counterparts in the Gateway City to engage in a public dialogue about immigration, diversity, integration, discrimination, inequality, and the future of the city. A city transformed in recent years by economic decline, racial strife, increasing immigration, urban revitalization, and gentrification, St. Louis is the ideal setting for such exchanges, which will take the form of interactive roundtable discussions, debates, and artistic events. City/Cité St. Louis will continue the City/Cité objective of creating a multi-dimensional, two-way transatlantic exchange, while building bridges and networks between cultural and academic institutions in France and cities in the Midwest.