Britain sheltered thousands of French refugees fleeing the Revolution. Relief organized on their behalf was unique at the time because it included both charitable and government-funded aid to temporary foreign residents. Resources were channeled through nongovernmental voluntary bodies in the French community and distributed by Jean-François de la Marche, the exiled Bishop of Saint Pol de Léon. The emigrants of the 1790s were agents of their own survival, but they also depended on diverse forms of support in host countries. That story has clear parallels in our own time. Eighteenth-century British relief also served as a precursor for subsequent humanitarian funding for victims of war and persecution.
Identities, Economics, Social Exchanges, and Humanitarianism
The French Revolution profoundly influenced many of the ideas and institutions that created the modern world. This far-reaching revolutionary upheaval drew widely on eighteenth-century Enlightenment culture to construct and spread modern ideas about human rights, republicanism, legal equality, nationalism, and the value of scientific knowledge. At the same time, France’s revolutionary leaders began to create new institutions that France and other modern countries would use to develop large state bureaucracies, mass conscription armies, centralized monetary and taxation systems, nationwide legal codes and police surveillance, carefully orchestrated public rituals, and new plans for public education.
French Economic Migration under “Refugeedom” during the French Revolution
During the French Revolution, thousands of French refugees migrated through the Channel borderlands. At least four thousand settled there. The Channel Island of Jersey served as the loci of migration where economic life operated under “refugeedom,” a polity both apart from and particular to state authority. Refugeedom—in its alterity—suggests a matrix of economic conditions, legal codes, and social relations that can explain the lives of people in the French Revolution’s emigration. This study of economic migration offers a way to reframe the French emigration as opportunism and resilience. Refugeedom serves as the analytic framework to understand economic migration, not only as a political crisis of displaced people in the midst of revolution—those seeking refuge from war, persecution, famine, and other hardships—but also as part of a strategy of survival, one that includes the economic migration of labor.
Campanology under COVID-19
Throughout 2020 and 2021, bells have rung in a variety of COVID-related rituals in the West, ranging from large-scale religious and civic rites, to ad hoc neighborhood and hospital initiatives, to anti-racist memorials that simultaneously spoke to the health crisis at hand. Taking stock of how these COVID bell-ringing rituals were formalized, their structures and actions, and the historical precedents from which they drew their meanings, this article investigates what the sounds of bells and the rituals of bell-ringing communicated about COVID, how they shaped our personal and collective experiences of the crisis, and what functions they were expected to serve during this liminal period. It reveals how, owing to the historical polysemy of bells on the one hand and the social uncertainties of living with COVID on the other, those rituals generated vivid symbolisms and mobilized powerful emotions that sometimes brought about unintended consequences.
Some Themes in Recent Work on Colonial Violence
The study of violence has emerged as an important analytical category for historical analysis, especially in the areas where Europeans attempted to establish either dominance or colonies, such as Ireland, North America, Asia, and the Middle East. This article surveys some recent work on colonial violence, in which historians have tried to distinguish between different types of violence and have pointed to the importance of intelligence gathering, fear, and emotion as analytical tools for understanding the nature of colonial violence.
This article argues that France’s conquest and subsequent legal treatment of Algeria as an integral part of France, though without French citizenship for Algerians, served as a transnational precedent for US incorporation of former Spanish colonies in the early twentieth century. While the United States also drew lessons from British colonial policy, as scholarship has shown, France’s republican empire offered particular tools, which scholars have not studied, for US courts to designate Filipinos and Puerto Ricans like French Algerians. In essence, French Algeria provided an example for US jurists to create an imperial category for new territorial peoples as neither US citizens nor foreign subjects but as “nationals.” The article draws principally on the so-called Insular Cases, US newspapers, and political documents. The article exposes transnational connections between the United States and France in constructing empires of white freedom, no less important than imagined Anglo-Saxonism at the time.
French Aristocrats and Atlantic Merchants in Northern European Port Cities after 1789
The thousands of aristocratic emigrants from revolutionary France who found asylum in the independent German city city-state of Hamburg and the neighboring Danish city of Altona were not the only immigrants arriving in the neutral ports. Alongside these flamboyant newcomers, merchants, scholars, artisans, and others continued, as they had for decades, to come in pursuit of the economic opportunities denied them at home. With harbors on the Elbe River just downstream from the North Sea, the two cosmopolitan port cities flourished as wars and revolution roiled the rest of Europe. Diplomatically neutral and open to trade, these two cities opened their doors to newcomers from around the world. Over the decade, the aristocrats, who thought themselves cosmopolitan, tested their welcome in the prosperous ports with no native nobility. While most of the newcomers assimilated readily, contributing to the ports’ prosperity, the aristocrats left to reclaim what remained of their estates.
Anthony Chinaemerem Ajah, S. J. Cooper-Knock, Josette Daemen, Douglas L. Berger, and Hayden Weaver
Uchenna Okeja, Deliberative Agency: A Study in Modern African Political Philosophy. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2022, 214 pp.
Gideon van Riet, Hegemony, Security Infrastructures and the Politics of Crime: Everyday Experiences in South Africa. London: Routledge, 2021, 224 pp.
Richard Grusin (ed), Insecurity. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2022, 272 pp.
Tao Jiang, Origins of Moral-Political Philosophy in Early China. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021, xiii–xvi+556 pp.
Judith Butler, The Force of Nonviolence: An Ethico-Political Bind. London: Verso, 2020, 209 pp.
Following the footsteps of scholars who have made contributions to the debate about the question of method and analysis in Fanon’s work, this article explores the implications of his concerns with the link between madness and struggle on our understanding of the transformative role of radical political strategies in the colonial context and the contemporary world. The main argument it pursues is that Fanon regarded madness and revolutionary violence in the colonial context as effects of colonial alienation. Most importantly, this argument sets the article apart from the works which focus on how Fanon’s proto-structuralist analysis of the process of madness and the question of cure reveals his concerns with the conditions for the possibility of a politico-philosophical paradigm or a universal morality in postcolonial time or national liberation time.
Historical Time and Revolutionary Change in Marx, Gramsci, Benjamin, and Fanon
Inspired by contemporary criticism(s) levelled against evolutionist conceptions of history present within much classical social theory, this article seeks to discuss alternative conceptions of historical time, modernity, and coloniality within the works of Marxist-inspired thinkers who have sought to tackle the problematic aspects of evolutionism and ‘historical progress’ head on – namely, Antonio Gramsci, Walter Benjamin, and Frantz Fanon. After discussing orthodox Marxism’s ambivalent relation to notions of historical necessity and human agency, the article turns to discussing Gramsci’s anti-economistic conception of hegemony and Benjamin’s and Fanon’s respective conceptions of the ‘dialectics of rupture’ in order to present alternative conceptions of historical time which partly or fully depart from orthodox Marxism’s tendencies towards evolutionism, albeit whilst retaining a focus on dialectics, power struggle, and revolutionary transformation.