At the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society for French Historical Studies, Willa Silverman and Kyri Claflin delivered presentations for a session entitled “Eating and Edifying: Perspectives on the Culinary History of the Third Republic.” Chaired by Janet Horne and with commentary by Paul Freedman, the panel offered innovative perspectives on French food history. Refined in response to Freedman’s suggestions, the contributions of Silverman and Claflin form the nucleus of the present forum. Michael Garval has joined Silverman and Claflin with an article of his own, and all three have benefited from the recommendations of two double-blind peer reviewers. The finished product—now two years in the making—is one that Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques is pleased to present to its readers.
W. Brian Newsome
What Is Old Is New Again
Through a variety of disciplinary lenses, this innovative forum, coedited with Victoria Thompson, investigates a particular cultural space and time, namely the emergence of proto–roller coasters known as montagnes russes or “Russian mountains” in Paris in 1817. Peggy Davis, Sun-Young Park, and Christine Haynes depict the early years of the Restoration (1814/1815–1830) as a liminal moment in the emergence of modernity. Although this forum began as a panel at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society for French Historical Studies, the authors have extended and improved their pieces significantly. Taken together, they show that as foreigners flocked to Paris and the French adjusted to diminished circumstances in the aftermath of Napoleon’s second defeat, identities were in flux. This forum explores how and why the montagnes russes became such a cultural phenomenon and suggests their role in forging a new French identity in the wake of war and revolution.
Postcolonial Intersections. Asia on the Move
Mayurakshi Chaudhuri and Viola Thimm
The past decade has witnessed an exponential growth in literature on the diverse forms, practices, and politics of mobility. Research on migration has been at the forefront of this field. Themes in this respect include heterogeneous practices that have developed out of traditions of resistance to a global historical trajectory of imperialism and colonialism. In response to such historical transformations of recent decades, the nature of postcolonial inquiry has evolved. Such changing postcolonial trajectories and power negotiations are more pronounced in specific parts of the world than in others. To that end, “Postcolonial Intersections: Asia on the Move” is a special section that engages, examines, and analyzes everyday power negotiations, focusing particularly on Asia. Such everyday negotiations explicitly point to pressure points and movements across multiple geosocial scales where gender, religion, age, social class, and caste, to name a few, are constantly negotiated and redefined via changing subjectivities.
Writing History and the Social Sciences with Ivan Jablonka
This introduction outlines Ivan Jablonka’s theory and practice of writing the social sciences as foregrounded in three of his most noted, recent books, A History of the Grandparents I Never Had, History is a Contemorary Literature, and Laëtitia. As he outlines in his own contribution here, Jablonka advances rigorous, methodical research that nevertheless details the subjective investment of the researcher while at the same time utilizing creative “literary” techniques to engage a wide spectrum of readers well beyond the habitual circles of academic specialists. The essays contributed by Julie Fette, Sarah Fishman, Melanie Hawthorne, Don Reid, and Nathan Bracher explore various facets of Jablonka’s approach, including, respectively: writing history with family stories, resisting the erosion of factual reasoning in the Trump years, pursuing biographies of supposedly non-descript lives, appreciating the importance of Communist cultural networks in postwar France, and revisiting the role of the subject in the social sciences.
Conal McCarthy and Sandra H. Dudley
After special issues of Museum Worlds: Advances in Research in 2016 and 2017, Volume 6 (2018) is an open issue. In the last two years, the journal has canvassed issues to do with museum archeology, repatriation, and engaging anthropological legacies, as well as with its annual scan of books, exhibitions, conferences, and other events around the museum world, not just in the Anglophone North Atlantic but also in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and the Pacific.
Venenum, un Monde Empoisonné, Musée des Confluences
The Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France, recently organized a remarkable exhibition: Venenum, un Monde Empoisonné. It ran from April 2017 to April 2018 and was located in one of the museum’s five large temporary exhibition spaces. Venenum did justice to the multidisciplinary and multi-thematic nature of this newly founded museum, bringing together objects otherwise classified separately as natural history, art, ethnography, or history.
Stefan Berger, Anna Cento Bull, Cristian Cercel, Nina Parish, Małgorzata A. Quinkenstein, Eleanor Rowley, Zofia Wóycicka, Jocelyn Dodd, and Sarah Plumb
War Museums and Agonistic Memory
Within the EU-Horizon-2020-funded project Unsettling Remembering and Social Cohesion in Transnational Europe (UNREST),1 one work package (WP4) analyzed the memorial regimes of museums related to the history of World War I and World War II in Europe. An article by Anna Cento Bull and Hans Lauge Hansen (2016) entitled “Agonistic Memory” provided the theoretical framework for the analysis. Drawing on Chantal Mouffe’s work (2005, 2013), the authors distinguish three memorial regimes: antagonistic, cosmopolitan, and agonistic.
Unexpected Encounters: Museums Nurturing Living and Ageing Well
As the world’s population ages, how can museums nurture living and aging well? The conference Unexpected Encounters: Museums Nurturing Living and Ageing Well, organized by the Research Centre for Museums and Galleries (RCMG) from the School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester, set out to interrogate this question, and invited conference delegates to consider how museums unconsciously make assumptions about older people and perpetuate the dominant societal view of aging as a “problem.”