French National Archives moving substantial collections to suburbs

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Scholarly Paris will change in 2009 when a sizable portion of the French National Archives moves from the center of Paris to outlying Seine Saint-Denis. While documents from the ancien régime will remain downtown in the Marais, collections dating from the 1789 revolution through the Fourth Republic will be housed in this northeastern suburb, one of the many sites of youth rioting in 2005.

The suburbs (banlieues) of Paris can refer to anything from the luxury townships to the west of the Bois de Boulogne, to the Impressionist landscapes along the Marne River, to the various municipal strongholds of the French Communist Party ("the red belt"), to the cités or housing projects in the poorest areas on the outskirts of metropolitan Paris. The cités have become the focal point of an intense awareness of racial discrimination against second- and third-generation minority groups.

One of the results of the 2005 riots is that scholars of contemporary France, especially anthropologists, literary critics, and cultural historians, are shifting their focus from the center of Paris to the periphery.

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