Foucault News

News and resources on French thinker Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

L’historien français Marc Ferro est mort
Par Philippe-Jean Catinchi, Le Monde, 22 avril 2021

Spécialiste du XXe siècle, de la Grande Guerre à Vichy et à la décolonisation, il a été pionnier dans l’utilisation des images comme source historique. Agé de 96 ans, il est décédé le 21 avril.

Internationalement reconnu pour ses travaux sur le XXe siècle, de la Grande Guerre à la décolonisation, en passant par la révolution russe et Vichy, ainsi que pour son exploration pionnière sur l’image comme sujet d’histoire, l’historien Marc Ferro est mort le 21 avril, à l’âge de 96 ans, à Saint-Germain-en-Laye (Yvelines), entouré des siens.

Foucault link
Sheila Schvarzman, Constructing history on television: Marc Ferro and newsreels in Histoire Parallèle, Tempo vol.20 Niterói 2014 Epub Jan 30, 2015
Article originally in Portuguese. English version (Original version at this link as well)

In 1989, when Europe was being transformed after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the expansion of satellite communications, La Sept, a Franco-German TV channel, came into being. Histoire Paralèlle, a TV show hosted by Marc Ferro with newsreels shown in both countries, 50 years before, became the most watched program of the station, comparing the images the ways in which German and French started the war, as it should be seen and experienced by their fellow citizens. The program became a socialized process of understanding and historical rewriting, besides standing before the conflict between memory and history, a question that guided the historiography of the 1990s. This article analyzes Histoire Paralèlle, examining the relationship that it established with the historiography and filmic production of the historian. Therefore, its theoretical assumptions are re-discussed and historicized in the context of Ferro’s works and through the analysis of three of his programs.

Key words: history; Marc Ferro; newsreels
With the aim of having a point of view about these issues, the magazine interviewed Michel Foucault, “whose systematic work is to replace what the official text represses, what is being agitated hidden in the damn files of the dominant class”.19 Foucault shows that control over popular memory was at risk in that moment, which had been happening since the 19th century through reading and basic schooling. Upon this control,

“the historical knowledge that the working class has on itself does not stop decreasing […] Now, cheap literature is not enough anymore. There are much more effective ways, i.e. television and cinema. I also believe that (control for teaching, TV and cinema) was a way of re-codifying popular memory that exists but does not have a mean to be formulated. Then, people are shown with not what they were, but what they should remember they were.”

The magazine tried to dismantle the cinematographic language mechanisms so that its working is clear and it could be reverted into a “conscious and engaged” cinema, having power over “reality effect” of the image for the fair cause.

One thought on “Marc Ferro (1924-2021)

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