Behind the Event

The attacks of January 7, 8, and 9, 2015 against Charlie Hebdo, a weekly French satirical magazine and a kosher supermarket in Paris sparked a vigorous debate about fundamental political and ethical issues such as freedom of expression, the relation between state, religion and society, respect for other beliefs and perspectives, inequality, and the disenfranchisement of individuals and communities. Although the events and subsequent protests were concentrated in France, extensive media coverage drew global attention. “Je suis Charlie” or “Je ne suis pas Charlie” became international expressions of adhesion to or distance from the stance attributed to Charlie Hebdo with regard to religion in general and to Islam in particular.

The Western Languages Division at Widener is currently building the "Charlie Archive at the Harvard Library, 2015-" that includes materials such as manuscript, printed, digital, and ephemeral content produced in the aftermath of these events.

About the Charlie Archive Project at the Harvard Library

The Western Languages Division at Widener is currently building the "Charlie Archive at the Harvard Library, 2015-" that includes materials produced in the aftermath of the attacks against Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket in Paris on January 7, 8, and 9, 2015. The archive contains a wide array of materials including manuscript, printed, digital, and ephemeral content that represent diverse perspectives responding to the terrorist attacks in France in 2015 or contributing to the debates surrounding the events. The objective of the archive is to document a peculiar moment in the early 21st century when the word “Charlie” all of a sudden took on tragic significance and became charged with conflicting emotions, opinions, and agendas.

About the Founders of the Charlie Archive at the Harvard Library

Virginie Greene

Virginie Greene is professor of French medieval literature, and currently chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. She has published on medieval literature and philosophy, and Marcel Proust. She holds a Ph.D. in French literature from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Lidia Uziel

Lidia Uziel is head of the Western Languages Division and bibliographer for Western Europe at Widener Library. She serves as the division’s leader and catalyst in building and then implementing its vision and strategy for collection development activities for materials in humanities and social science originating in Western European and English speaking countries. She holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from both the University of Montreal in Canada and Jean Moulin Lyon 3 University in France.

Nicole Mills

Nicole Mills is coordinator of the Beginning French Language Program at Harvard University. She has publications in various academic journals and edited volumes on various topics associated with self-efficacy in foreign language learning and teaching, curriculum design, motivation, and language program evaluation. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Studies and French from Emory University.

Through the Lens

Through the Lens: A Multilateral Perspective on Today's World is a series of events inviting artists, journalists, and experts in politics, economy and ethics from both sides of the Atlantic to share their analyses and participate in debates about some of today’s most pressing issues. Organized by the French Cultural Center in partnership with local and international partners, the series will take place from September 22nd, 2016 through May 2nd, 2017 in the Center’s historic brownstone. Through the Lens includes panel discussions, art exhibits, a film screening, workshops, and a stage reading on a variety of themes ranging from the upcoming presidential elections in France and the United States, to freedom of speech in the post-Charlie Hebdo era, to protection of journalists’ autonomy and security and some of the XXIst century’s most memorable trials.


This event is made possible thanks in part to Natixis Global Asset Management, the Institut Français, the Mosaïque Cultural Fund and Jean-François and Nathalie Ducrest. NATIXIS_RGB_GAM_10CM
MosaiqueCharter1Web_Logo Rose-Noir ss Fund

Upcoming Events


Les Gardiens du Jardin

Gouache and ink drawings by Mary Beth McAllister

From May 18, 2017 To Jul 5, 2017

On view at the Center until July 5

This exhibition features a collection of whimsical gouache and ink drawings of French characters inspired by and fashionably dressed as French packets of garden seeds.

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Special Parkour Workshop

L'art du déplacement

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 6:30 PM To 8:30 PM

Top Parkour French instructor leads a short presentation at the Center followed by a training on the Charles River Esplanade. Originating in Paris, Parkour is one of the world's fastest growing sports. This workshop is intended for ages 14+.

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Bastille Day Party 2017

A celebration of liberté, égalité and fraternité

Friday, July 14, 2017 6:00 PM To 11:00 PM

Bastille Day returns to Marlborough Street on Friday, July 14 for a celebration of Francophone cultures filled with live music, dancing, festive food and drinks. After a sold-out event in 2014, 2015, and 2016, you won't want to miss this signature Back Bay festival.

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