Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version

Spring 4-16-2019

Thesis Advisor

Dr. Nikhil Anand


laïcité, governmentality, seine, parc rives de seine, grand parc de St. Ouen


This thesis is an ethnographic study of two parks bordering the Seine in Paris, France, one on the outskirts of the city and the other in the center of the city. Based on data gathered during the spring of 2018, this project provides an account of the location, design, and policing of these parks. Further, this thesis addresses how experiences in these two recently developed parks may constitute new ways of thinking about secularism, governmentality, and city planning. This project highlights the pitfalls of secularism, the reach of governmentality, and the ways states attempt to constitute modernity. Observations of these two parks show how the daily lives of Muslim French women debunk the binary separations called for by state secularism, how city planning can put forth a certain image of a nation, and how parks can guide people in their social interaction, behavior, and self-expression. Finally, this thesis addresses the state’s failure to fully contain the Seine, which threatens to flood each park.

Included in

Anthropology Commons



Date Posted: 22 August 2019


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