• Events

City/Cité St Louis at Webster University

Part of City / Cité St. Louis

Image: Gentrification in Oakland by Manuel at Youth Voices

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 

1:00 pm – 1:30 pm: Introductory comments

  • Lionel Cuillé, Webster University

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm: Diversity, Inequality, and Place in the Divided City 
In an era of rapid urban change, French and US cities struggle with immigration and citizenship, gentrification and economic justice, and the inequalities of race and class. These issues are visible in high relief in metropolitan Saint Louis and Paris. This panel gathers an interdisciplinary group of scholars to discuss our divided cities and the impact of social movements and policymaking on their present and future.


  • John Robinson, Washington University in Saint Louis
  • Catalina Freixas, Washington University in Saint Louis
  • Samir Hadj-Belgacem, CERAPS/CNRS
  • Fréderic Callens, Musée nationale de l'histoire de l'immigration
  • Anna Crosslin, International Institute
  • Moderator: Andrew Diamond, Sorbonne Université

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm: Politics and Activism in the Divided City
In both France and the United States, activists have struggled in recent years to build coalitions across racial and ethnic boundaries. This session brings scholars and activists into dialogue about the institutional and spatial dynamics of racial discrimination, and about the possibilities of building trust and solidarity among different urban communities in divided cities.


  • Julien Talpin, CERAPS/CNRS
  • Reverend Starsky D. Wilson, Deaconess Foundation
  • Salah Amokrane, Association Tactikollectif
  • Kira Hudson Banks, Saint Louis University/Forward Through Ferguson
  • Moderator: Todd Swanstrom, University of Missouri – Saint Louis

5:00 pm – 5:30 pm: Closing remarks

6:30 pm: Cocktail Hour

Participant Biographies

John Robinson III is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Washington University in St. Louis. His work examines how macro-economic changes have redefined politics of race, poverty and neighborhood inequality within and around American cities. His current reserach focuses on the affordable housing industry in the United States. 

Catalina Freixas is an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Washington University in St. Louis. Through her design pedagogy, Freixas explores the transformative potential of housing and mixed-income communities in addressing social disparity through increased access to education, health, public transportation, amenities, and green space. 

Samir Hadj-Belgacem is a doctor of sociology completing research at the Centre d'étude de recherches administratives, politiques et sociales (CERPAS). His disseratation examined the political engagement and partisanship of people living in specific neighborhoods. 

Fréderic Callens is the director of resources at the Musée national de l'histoire de l'immigration in Paris. He is particularly interested in the social impacts of immigration and the fight against discrimination. 

Julien Talpin is the co-editor of the French political science journal Participations. His research focuses on the politicization of popular classes, deliberative democracies, community organizing and empowerment, and experiences of discrimination. 

Reverand Starsky D. Wilson is a pastor, activist and president of Deaconess Foundation, a faith-based grant making organization devoted to making child well-being a civic priority in the St. Louis region. In 2014, Rev. Wilson lead the Ferguson Commission, a group that made public policy recommendations to help the region progress the death of Michael Brown, Jr. 

Salah Amokrane is the current director of the Association Tactikollectif, a Toulouse based organization that seeks to strengthen the memory and collective heritage of immigrants through music, events, and political actions. 

Kira Hudson Banks is an Associate Professor of Pyschology at St. Louis University. In addition to her studies of diversity and mental health in African American communities, Dr. Banks served as a racial equity consultant for the Ferguson Commission and has continued as the Racial Equity Catalyst for Forward Through Ferguson. 

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 18th to October 20th, 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.