Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Modern Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Charles R. Batson




Islam, France


My study begins with a close look at the Parisian “banlieue” and popular imagery associated with it. When the large wave of immigrants came to France in the 1950’s, they were very poor and settled in the outskirts of Paris. Today, even some sixty years later, this “banlieue” is roughly synonymous with “slums” or “shantytowns” and is associated with criminal activity, very poor inhabitants, and violence. A distinction between beautiful Paris and the rundown banlieue is defined not only by the appearance of their respective buildings, but by the lives of their inhabitants as well. There is a clear social exclusion occurring between the “Français de souche,” or the people of “pure” French ancestors, and the descendants of Arab and Muslim immigrants who live in these shantytowns. French cinema has been a great tool for people to reveal the injustices being imposed on the inhabitants of the banlieue. It reveals how the government and other social forces have used their power to marginalize these groups of people in the banlieue in a desire to protect a certain vision of French national identity, one which does not take the contributions of people of other backgrounds. However, in an ever-changing world, failure to adapt to the changing times and excluding groups of people based on their ethnicity, religion, race, etc., is increasingly dangerous. As my study goes on to show, the people of the banlieue have lost hope to change their social and economic standing and their faith in the French government. Therefore, I propose that the people of the banlieue have become targets of terrorist groups such as ISIS. It is very important to understand why terrorist organizations are attractive to some people in the banlieue. Now, in the aftermath of the most recent terrorist attacks in France, the 13th of November 2015, the world powers, especially France, must consider the possible responses. My last pages show that there are many intricacies to consider when weighing the possible responses such as the goals and desires of other world powers, the costs and benefits of repairing the social fracture in France, and the complexities of another war in the Middle East.