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Didier Eribon’s Returning to Reims

Claude Lévi-Strauss and Didier Eribon, Paris, 1984. Photo: Xavier Lambours.

Returning to Reims, by Didier Eribon. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e)/Foreign Agents, 2013. 240 pages.

TO READERS who followed America’s culture-war shoot-outs of the 1980s and ’90s, Didier Eribon will forever be linked to Michel Foucault and Claude Lévi-Strauss. In his biography of the former and book-length interview with the latter, Eribon brought a journalist’s clarity to works that were models of intelligence leavened with implicit critical admiration. In the decades since, he made the transition from journalist to academic, but he never ceased to act as a dynamic mediator of worlds. In a country historically suspicious of anything that so much as hinted at identity politics, Eribon organized one of the first conferences on gay history, in 1997, carving out a space for US theorists and historians. Since then, he has helped put gay and lesbian studies on the French academic map while

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