Kyra Schulman

Penn Humanities Forum Undergraduate Fellow

20172018 Forum on Afterlives

Kyra Schulman

Executive Board, Wolf Undergraduate Humanities Forum

History, French Studies

CAS, 2018

Kyra Schulman is a senior double majoring in history with a European concentration and French and francophone studies with a minor in music. Her research focuses on the afterlife of the Dreyfus Affair in France and, in particular, how the language of the Affair was adopted, rebranded, and revised by proponents of a more conservative French social order during the Vichy period and ultimately by the Front National. Kyra is also the editor of IMPACT (Penn’s social justice magazine) and the president of For Lyricists and Musicians (Penn’s singer-songwriter group). 

From Dreyfus to Le Pen: The Many Afterlives of the Dreyfus Affair in France

According to Hannah Arendt, the Dreyfus Affair was a “dress rehearsal” for the genocidal atrocities committed by the Nazis during World War II. More recently, the Dreyfus Affair can be seen as a precursor for the French far-right Front National party. As can be seen in the material available at the Lorraine Beitler Collection of the Dreyfus Affair, the anti-Dreyfusards developed a socially-recognized language of rhetoric and images that supported anti-Semitism in their posters, journalistic discourse, books, music, and postcards. This language of the anti-Dreyfusards would persist well beyond the pardoning of Alfred Dreyfus in 1906 and would become the linguistic and pictorial backbone for the anti-Semitic Vichy regime and the anti-immigrant Front National ideology. Importantly, the language of the Affair has taken on many afterlives in the French far-right’s mass media campaigns.