Past Event

Today Sardines Are Not for Sale: A Street Protest in Occupied Paris

April 26, 2023
6:00 PM - 7:15 PM
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East Gallery, Maison Française, Buell Hall
Paula Schwartz, in conversation with Philip Nord and Marianne Hirsch


On Mother's Day, May 31, 1942, a group of women stormed a small grocery store at the corner of the rue de Buci and the rue de Seine, to protest the food shortages that had become a chronic feature of daily life. The then-outlawed French Communist party aimed to channel the frustrations of hungry Parisians by organizing actions like this "women's demonstration on the rue de Buci" as part of a larger, overarching resistance movement against the collaborationist Vichy regime and German occupiers. The Buci affair became a cause célèbre, in no small part owing to its tragic consequences: the imprisonment, deportation, and execution of some of the protagonists. In Today Sardines are not for SalePaula Schwartz takes an in-depth look at this singular event, its dramatic repercussions, and its rich postwar afterlife. This book was the Winner of the Philippe Viannay-Défense de la France Prize in 2020.

Paula Schwartz is the Lois B. Watson Professor of French Studies, Emeritus, at Middlebury College, where she taught courses on 20th-century France, food studies, and European studies. Her scholarship focuses on women and gender in the French Resistance, the French Communist underground, and daily life during the Second World War.

Philip Nord is Rosengarten Professor of Modern and Contemporary History, Emeritus, at Princeton University. He studies the political and cultural history of modern France.

Marianne Hirsch is William Peterfield Trent Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University and Professor in the Center for the Study of Sexuality.

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