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The French Empire Goes to San Francisco

The Founding of the United Nations and the Limits of Colonial Reform

Jessica Lynne Pearson

“The goal of French colonization lies somewhere between the internationalization of the Colonies and independence, two solutions which offer neither security for newly emancipated States, nor dignity for their inhabitants.” Telegram from M. de

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Selective Empathy

Workers, Colonial Subjects, and the Affective Politics of French Romantic Socialism

Naomi J. Andrews

socialists used expansive language such as this in critiquing the core, and in their view, divisive, values dominant in French society—liberal individualism and its economic correlates—and offering instead a more harmonious and interdependent model of social

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To Bear Witness After the Era of the Witness

The Projects of Christophe Boltanski and Ivan Jablonka

Donald Reid

in France. He grew up and lives today in what he calls a society marked by a memory culture in which one is asked to reflect on and pay homage to the victims of the Holocaust. 3 But, he recognizes, this “duty to remember” can be stifling, a matter of

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Julie Fette

parent for not gathering the story from ancestors when it was possible. 1 As a historian of contemporary France with expertise in oral history and an innate sensibility to elderly folk, the opportunity to record and historicize the Libraty and Cohen life

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Jews and Christians in Vichy France

New and Renewed Perspectives

Michael Sutton

The publication of new research relating to the positions taken by Jews and Christians in Vichy France continues apace, as witness the selection here of a large number of works published since 2012. * 1 In considering them, we have limited

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Manufacturing a Multifunctional Countryside

Operational Landscapes, Urban Desire, and the French State, 1945–1976

Venus Bivar

The story of postwar France, of les trente glorieuses , is typically imagined as a story of economic growth and urban modernity. At the end of the Second World War, France was still a largely rural and agricultural nation. Farming employed a full

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A Fiction of the French Nation

The Émigré Novel, Nostalgia, and National Identity, 1797–1815

Mary Ashburn Miller

In B. A. Picard’s 1803 novel Le Retour d’un émigré , Sophie, the daughter of an émigré of the French Revolution, visits the greenhouse on her father’s estate, which has been sold to a family friend. There, she approaches two large orange trees that

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Gérard Grunberg

The 2007 presidential elections have been the most important in France since 1981 because they provoked ruptures in the way the state and the French political system function. These ruptures, which this essay explores, include: the structural advantage the Right now has over the Left in national elections; the extension of the president's power and role in the regime; the transformation of the French political parties system into bipartism; and, finally, evolution inside the two major French parties due not only to the personality, ideas and choices of their respective candidates but also to the growing role of the president in the regime and its effects.

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Suzanne Desan

“All history is contemporary history,” observed Benedetto Croce. Work on the French Revolution has often proven his insight.* In today’s globalizing climate, it is worth examining French revolutionary historians’ uneven embrace of the current historiographic trend toward transnational approaches. On one hand, scholarship has been comparatively slow to take this turn for several reasons, notably the persistent belief in the centrality of the nation. The revolutionaries themselves built claims of French exceptionalism into their construction of universalism, and historians have inherited the strong sense that the Revolution held particular power and played an integral role in constructing French national identity.

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Sophie Meunier

The most common perception of France found these days in the American media is that of an arrogant country, whose international gesticulations are the last hurrah masking its inevitable decline into oblivion. The French have not yet come to terms with their lengthy collapse, which started with the devastation of World War I, continued with the humiliation of their defeat in 1940 and was furthered by the loss of their colonial empire. This would explain their support, still to this day, for a Gaullist policy made up of power incantations, in contrast to real power—or lack thereof. Of course, this characterization is meant as much as an insult as an objective statement of fact. What few of these American commentators comprehend, however, is how much this image of a nation blinded by self-confidence is erroneous. On the contrary, the French have excelled at self-flagellation for a long time, rightly or wrongly. Whether one calls it “malaise” or decline, French commentators are the first to confess that France is free-falling—whether vis-à-vis the US, its European partners, or its own aspirations.