Paris As Revolution
Holocaust and Denial in the Americas, to the Present. San Francisco, City Lights Books. Yanagisako, eds, Unwrapping the Sacred Bundle.
Reflections on the Disciplining of Anthropology. Durham, Duke University Press: Coon, Carleton S. Ipswich, Gambit. Copans, Jean, ed. Paris, Gallimard. New York, New American Library. Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press. Gonzales, Roberto J. Speaking out on War, Peace, and American Power. Austin, University of Texas Press. Human Rights and International Order. New York, Columbia University Press. Hersh, Seymour M. Hymes, Dell, ed. New York, Pantheon Books.
Pluralism and the Idea of the Republic in France
Boston, Beacon Press. Kuhn, Thomas S. Selected Studies in Scientific Tradition and Change. Chicago, University of Chicago Press. London, Allan Lane. Paris, Fayard. Paris, Albin Michel. Paris, B. Paris, Le Cerf. Mignolo, Walter D. Durham-London, Duke University Press: The Afterlives of Area Studies. Perhaps, too, a name when given, should be deemed a sacred property. The striking exception to the usual course of American urban planning was, and is, of course, Washington, D. With its name taken from the "father of the country," the capital city recalled the paradigmatic patronymic origins of the city, precisely the connections that William Penn had so emphatically rejected for the City of Brotherly Love.
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Washington himself was very much involved in the planning of the city that would bear his name which he always referred to as the "Federal City". He chose the site, and he chose the planner for the capital that was to exemplify the new nation and the very structure of the new government. The originality of the plan struck everyone, one commentator going so far as to praise the "genius" that had made an "inconceivable improvement upon all other cities in the world. But, instead of pope or prince, this city of the New World glorified a republic.
Contemporaries readily grasped the symbolic significance of the planned city. L'Enfant, noted this author, had made visible the relations between city and country and those between the three branches of the government. Placing the Capitol on a hill with several broad avenues radiating outward made it unquestionably the center of the city, much as this city was to be the center of the new country.
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As former President and then Chief Justice William Howard Taft noted in , L'Enfant's capital city was the very image of the federal Constitution adopted in , infinitely adaptable to "the greatest emergencies and the most radical crises that could possibly confront a nation. In this projection of nation, nomenclature played its part. The plan impressed the regularity of the grid upon topography even more forcefully than in Philadelphia by dividing the city into quarters and placing letters on north-south streets in addition to the numbers for east-west streets.
To counter the monotony of the numbered grid, the diagonal avenues that cut through plazas or converged on a central point like the Capitol and the president's house bore the names of the then fifteen states. The location of these avenues followed their geographical location in the country, north to south which was also the order in which delegates from the several states signed the Constitution in The three longest avenues, which traversed the entire city from east to west, represented three of the largest states, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Jefferson's own Virginia.
The layout of the streets may or may not have been Thomas Jefferson's idea, but like the plan of the city as a whole, it gave emblematic expression to the republican ideal that he and the Founding Fathers sought to establish in the new United States. Whatever the origins, the streets of Washington constituted a dazzling symbolic ploy to reconcile the states of the Union to the federal city that figured as it sustained their union. The nomenclature wove the states into the very fabric of the city just as the Constitution merged the states into the federation.
The city and its grid, like the Constitution, resolved what remained unresolved in Paris and in France.
They settled the nature of the relationship of the part, the province or state, to the whole, the nation. Toponymy and topography joined in a grand. The uncontested brilliance of Washington lay in the exceptional coherence of a design that, like the Constitution itself, was exceptionally suited to future needs, symbolic as well as urban. L'Enfant conceived the space in terms not of enclosure but of organic expansion.
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To the rationality that the eighteenth century so ardently desired and the ideological coherence that French republicans struggled to effect, L'Enfant joined a distinctively American preoccupation with growth. The Federal City, he reported to President Washington, would "soon grow of itself, and spread as the branches of a tree. As such, it is emblematic of all texts, an edenic vision of a world to which words and works give form and substance. In no way could the new, planned city of Washington serve as a model for the many-layered urban palimpsest of Paris, with its legacies from so many regimes, its vestiges of so many events and so many populations.
L'Enfant's plan proclaimed Washington's vocation as capital of the Republic. In contrast, every map of Paris pronounced it as much more than the capital of France. The singularity of Paris as a city of revolution resides in its torturous relationship to the past, to the many pasts of the city and of the nation. The existing society and the existing city had to be made over in the image of the revolution, and yet could not be. The past was too conspicuous to be elided and too conflictual to be assimilated. The modernity commonly ascribed to nineteenth-century Paris is rooted in this sense of movement, the perpetually unfinished, always provisional nature of the present and the imminence of change.
Paris, not Washington, figured the age of revolutions. The battles on and over Paris streets strike a vivid contrast with L'Enfant's peaceful vision of organic growth for the American capital. By inscribing conflict onto the urban text itself, the Revolution of set the stage for the revolutionary Paris of the nineteenth century. The sense that change was at once inevitable and unpredictable translated into a veritable obsession with revolution, with fixing change, with arresting movement into order to make sense of the city and of the revolution by which it had come to be defined.
Guide-books, Wellingborough, are the least reliable books in all literature; and nearly all literature, in one sense, is made up of guidebooks. Herman Melville, Redburn. The journey lasted nearly two hours. The closed carriage and its full military escort passed through streets lined with citizens armed with spikes and guns.
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