Volume 12, Issue 2 – May 2022 | The Streaming Issue

With this issue of Imaginaries, which we hope will help some of you kick off the summer, we invite you to get comfortable with some binge-worthy, streaming series. Exploring the still-tender relationship between France and the Maghreb is the series Les Sauvages (Savages), in which the fate of the country’s first presidential candidate of Algerian descent collides with a powerful Kabyle family from Saint-Étienne. Maria Vendetti offers a meticulous analysis of the translation into English of the first two volumes of Sabri Louatah’s extremely successful novels and of their adaptation to the small screen. We then go back in time to the Belle Époque, with Venita Datta’s review of Le Bazar de la Charité (The Bonfire of Destiny), whose fanciful approach to historical accuracy, she tells us, might be off putting to those not seduced by the series’ aesthetics and melodrama. Finally, Robin Walz reflects on Lupin, whose international popularity surprised even its star, Omar Sy. Walz traces the path from Arsène Lupin, Maurice Leblanc’s beloved character, to Assane Diop, and breaks down the way the series takes a lucid look at the paradoxical predicament of French Black men: their simultaneous hypervisibility and invisibility.

We hope that these reviews will accompany you as you watch (or re-watch) these series, illuminating their productive engagement with history.


A Note on Volume 12, Issue 2

Posted on 

As editor of Imaginaries, I apologize for publishing a review of Le bureau des légendes without adequate scrutiny. Readers of the site and members of our board highlighted ableist and sexist language as well as arguments that were insufficiently attentive to the complexities of post-colonial experience. I sincerely regret this lapse and have withdrawn the review. The author did not accept my offer to submit a revision, so Imaginaries will commission another essay about the series.  

I have also taken steps to strengthen Imaginaries’ review process to avoid reinforcing implicit bias. Last spring, I expanded and diversified the advisory board and, since then, have involved board members more systematically and directly in the review process. I enhanced guidelines for writers by outlining the H-France Common Understanding and including a link to the document itself. If any review does raise questions with me or assistant editor Corine Labridy, we will invite a relevant specialist from the board to assess it as well. Finally, I invite readers with questions or concerns about something that Imaginaries publishes to contact me or the board. Like all of H-France, this site strives for transparency and collegiality. 

My thanks to H-France and, above all, to the Imaginaries advisory board, for a willingness to discuss these matters and formulate best practices as we move forward. 


Laura Mason