“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.
A Legacy of the French Revolution?
Matthew S.Buckley, Tragedy Walks the Streets: The French Revolution in the Making of Modern Drama (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006).
Paul Friedland, Political Actors: Representative Bodies and Theatricality in the Age of the French Revolution (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002).
Susan Maslan, Revolutionary Acts: Theater, Democracy, and the French Revolution (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2005).
Globalizing the History of French Decolonization
Jessica Lynne Pearson
the global interconnectedness of these processes. The most recent global shift in French history has inspired new scholarship on prerevolutionary France, the French Revolution, and on the myriad forms of resistance that took shape in France during
The French Revolution and the Political Process—Then and Now
What do we know about the political process of the French Revolution?* We know a great deal about its origins; we know a lot about its outcomes; and we know a great deal about political events that occurred in the course of the revolutionary decade. But the ongoing processes internal to the Revolution have been largely bracketed by scholars anxious to understand either its convoluted origins or its epochal outcomes.
Jeremy D. Popkin The Cult of the Nation in France: Inventing Nationalism, 1680-1800 by David A. Bell
Jay M. Smith A Revolution in Language: The Problem of Signs in Late Eighteenth-Century France by Sophia Rosenfeld
Ted W. Margadant Making Democracy in the French Revolution by James Livesey
Gay L. Gullickson Daughters of Eve: A Cultural History of French Theater Women from the Old Regime to the Fin-de-Siècle by Lenard R. Berlanstein
Elinor A. Accampo A Social Laboratory for Modern France: The Musée Social and the Rise of the Welfare State by Janet R. Horne
Thomas Ertman Institutions and Innovation: Voters, Parties, and Interest Groups in the Consolidation of Democracy—France and Germany, 1870-1939 by Marcus Kreuzer
Frank R. Baumgartner La Longue Marche des universités françaises by Christine Musselin
Revisiting the Poetry
In July 1989, as part of the celebration of the Bicentennial of the French Revolution, the great Martinican poet, playwright, and essayist Aimé Césaire was a special invitee of the Avignon Theatre Festival. I led a round table with him then in the context of the Institut d'Études Françaises of Bryn Mawr College. In his remarks he also read two unpublished poems. One of them, "Parcours," which I translate here as "Journey," is the subject of this article. This piece constitutes a reading of the poem as the poet's looking back, metaphorically, on his poetic journey, fifty years after the publishing of his epic poem, "Cahier d'un retour au pays natal" in 1939. This theme of looking back becomes a way to meditate on my own intellectual trajectory as a scholar of Césaire's poetry. I conclude with a poem of my own, on "Rereading Césaire Thirty Years On."
In the French polemics over the Islamic headscarf, the relationship betweensecularism and sexual equality has sometimes been made out to be an artificialone. The articulation between politics, religion, secularism, and women'srights is examined here over the longue durée. Since the beginning of the secularizationprocess during the French Revolution, a minority has championedan egalitarian conception of secularization. Rivalries between or convergencesof political and religious authorities have driven an ambivalent and not veryequal secularization, creating secular pacts that rely on gender pacts to thedetriment of equality. This dynamic reversed itself beginning in the 1960swith the battle for legal contraception and abortion, which shook one of thevery bases of French Catholicism to its foundation. The headscarf affairsrevealed the egalitarian effects of secularism and favored the elaboration ofthought about secularism in conjunction with sexual equality, which, whateverthe various interpretations of that thought may be, could prove to be anon-negligible benefit.
On the Bicentenary of the Legion of Honor
This article focuses on the findings of a study of titles and honors in twentieth-century France, in which these signs are analyzed as a government technique in their own right. This article shows how, transformed into a state emulation, a style of bureaucratic authority was created, a mode of coercion that favored an impersonal style of control over and between various corps of administrators, artists, managers, journalists, or elected representatives. A government technique was constituted in the distribution of the croix de la légion d'honneur, the most famous of these decorations—one with a conception of exemplarity (that of marks of distinction serving as a model for behaviors transcending the frame of legal obligations) and an emphasis on the soundness of behaviors, the guarantee and objective of a policy of conduct openly intended to replace the policy of rights or classes inherited from the French Revolution. Philosophers and intellectuals were to transform this intuition into a political paradigm: virtue can also, in its own way, be a rule of policing. Rationalized by a fast-growing bureaucracy, these marks of grandeur that constituted a means of emulation have now been trivialized to the extent of no longer being analyzed as such. Reconsidering the conditions in which they operate, this article proposes an interpretation of uses and functions through which the decoration invented by Napoléon spawned an administration of honors, the crucible of a full-blown government science.
: Algeria and the French Revolution of 1848 (Vol. 33, No. 1, 75) SPIELER, Miranda . Slave Flight, Slave Torture, and the State: Nineteenth-Century French Guiana (Vol. 33, No. 1, 55) SPECIAL ISSUE ON DECOLONIZATION AND RELIGION IN THE FRENCH EMPIRE BOURDEAUX
Alexis de Tocqueville's Comparative Views on Women and Marriage in France and the United States
Jean Elisabeth Pedersen
French Revolution].” 19 When Tocqueville moved on to the chapter “How Equality of Conditions Helps to Maintain Good Morals in America,” he compared and contrasted American democratic marriage practices and European aristocratic marriage practices only to