This article examines some of Langlois's major works on nineteenth-century French Catholicism, which taken together suggest a vision langloisienne defined by three central, intimately interrelated insights. First, for Langlois a chronology of French Catholicism based on an assumption of an ineluctable process of dechristianization needs to be replaced by a more nuanced and contingent understanding of the evolution of belief and practice. Second, a revised chronology illuminates important sectors of creative vitality within Catholicism, particularly with regard to female religious congregations. Third, historians of religion must be willing to use a variety of methods in exploring their subject; social scientific approaches are crucial, but they complement rather than replace traditional narrative, biography, and a close reading of literary texts. The article concludes with reflections on the normative posture that is implicit in Langlois's historical writing, a position based on his commitment to the values of toleration and equality.
Thirty Years of Women's History
This article evaluates the influence of Claude Langlois's research on female religious congregations in the field of women's history. It explores how his central findings contributed to scholarship on the feminization of religion before generating a strain of revisionist historiography concerning the history of girls' education and the history of the nursing profession and health care. Specifically, Langois's work has led scholars to investigate the archives of religious congregations and evaluate the emergence of a professional ethos among teaching and nursing nuns. The article concludes with an analysis of his more recent writings on missionary congregations and how this also has inspired work on the gendering of religious mission.