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French History

Old Paradigms, Current Tendencies, New Directions

Laura Frader

Over the past three decades modern French history has undergone important changes, introducing new methodologies and taking up new questions. Two directions are especially promising. Since the “global turn” of the 1990s, many French historians have shifted their focus outside of the hexagon to examine France in a global and transnational context. Their work has explored the contradictions of France's democratic heritage and exclusionary practices evident in the history of colonialism, immigration, and ethno-racial exclusion. A second body of research has addressed the gender dimensions of French colonialism and has examined how colonialism deployed sexuality and sexual difference in maintaining colonial rule. Both strands of research have demonstrated how France's engagement beyond the hexagon has shaped French institutions and social life.

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Race in France

Laura Frader

An American scholar is often struck by the absence of race in France as a category of analysis or the absence of discussions of race in its historical or sociological dimensions. After all, “race” on this side of the Atlantic, for reasons having to do with the peculiar history of the United States, has long been a focus of discussion. The notion of race has shaped scholarly analysis for decades, in history, sociology, and political science. Race also constitutes a category regularly employed by the state, in the census, in electoral districting, and in affirmative action. In France, on the contrary, race hardly seems acknowledged, in spite of both scholarly and governmental preoccupation with racism and immigration.

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Engendering French History Between the World Wars

Laura L. Frader

Siân Reynolds, France Between the Wars: Gender and Politics (London and New York: Routledge, 1997).

Mary Louise Roberts, Civilization Without Sexes: Reconstructing Gender in Postwar France, 1917-1927 (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1994).

Laura Lee Downs, Manufacturing Inequality: Gender Division in the French and the British Metalworking Industries 1914-1931 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995).

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Liberté, Égalité, Parité

Laura L. Frader

Joan Wallach Scott, Parité! Sexual Equality and the Crisis of French Universalism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).

Eléonore Lépinard, L’Égalité introuvable. La parité, les féministes et la République (Paris: Presses de la Fondation nationale des sciences politiques, 2007).

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Book Reviews

Laura Levine Frader, Ian Merkel, Jessica Lynne Pearson, and Caroline Séquin

Lisa Greenwald, Daughters of 1968: Redefining French Feminism and the Women's Liberation Movement (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2018).

Eric T. Jennings, Escape from Vichy: The Refugee Exodus to the French Caribbean (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018).

Kathleen Keller, Colonial Suspects: Suspicion, Imperial Rule, and Colonial Society in Interwar French West Africa (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2018).

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Book Reviews

Naomi J. Andrews, Simon Jackson, Jessica Wardhaugh, Shannon Fogg, Jessica Lynne Pearson, Elizabeth Campbell, Laura Levine Frader, Joshua Cole, Elizabeth A. Foster, and Owen White

Silyane Larcher, L'Autre Citoyen: L'idéal républicain et les Antilles après l'esclavage (Paris: Armand Colin, 2014).

Elizabeth Heath, Wine, Sugar, and the Making of Modern France: Global Economic Crisis and the Racialization of French Citizenship, 1870–1910 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014).

Rebecca Scales, Radio and the Politics of Sound in Interwar France, 1921–1939 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016).

Claire Zalc, Dénaturalisés: Les retraits de nationalité sous Vichy (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2016).

Bertram M. Gordon, War Tourism: Second World War France from Defeat and Occupation to the Creation of Heritage (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2018).

Shannon L. Fogg, Stealing Home: Looting, Restitution, and Reconstructing Jewish Lives in France, 1942–1947 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017).

Sarah Fishman, From Vichy to the Sexual Revolution: Gender and Family Life in Postwar France (New York: Oxford University Press, 2017).

Frederick Cooper, Citizenship between Empire and Nation: Remaking France and French Africa, 1945–1960 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014).

Jessica Lynne Pearson, The Colonial Politics of Global Health: France and the United Nations in Postwar Africa (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2018).

Darcie Fontaine, Decolonizing Christianity: Religion and the End of Empire in France and Algeria (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016).