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Political History Seminar

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Seminar website : http://histpol.hypotheses.org
Contact : fdechantal@univ-paris-diderot.fr

Program 2018-2019


28 September 2018 : Presentation of the book "Barack Obama : American Historian" by Steve Sarson (Lyon 3), in discussion with Pierre Gervais (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle).

  • The seminar will take place at 14h at the University of Chicago Center in Paris, 6 rue Thomas Mann, 75013 Paris, as part of the Redehja (Réseau d’Etudes sur l’Histoire de la Jeune Amérique) study day.


8 October 2018 : Miki Siguria (Hosei University Tokyo / Warwick Global History Centre) : Economies of Global Clothes. Slave Clothing in 18th century Dutch Cape Colony ». Room 830 (Olympe de Gouges).

  • Discussant : Marie-Jeanne Rossignol (LARCA)
  • This lecture examines how slave clothing was created and circulated in the 18th century Cape Town. Being the transit of Indian the Atlantic Ocean’s traffics and being completely reliant on imports, Cape Colony formed the juncture of European and Asian textiles. Cape’s rich inventory and auction records expose the myriads of these exchanges. Dressing Slaves reflects this mix-cultured influx of goods as well as complicated colonial politics. Surprisingly, Dutch Cape colony was seemingly able to supply slave clothing cheaper than its successor British Cape Colony. The presentation attempts to solve this mystery by analysing value formations of textile and clothing and focusing on second-hand circulation.


19 November 2018 - 17h-19h : Krista Cowman (Lincoln University) [séance commune axe Genre] : « The Battle of the Parlour : views of working-class living space in inter-war Britain ».

  • Discussant : Clarisse Berthezène (LARCA)
  • In the 1920s and 1930s, a fierce public debate broke out in Britain over the Government’s decision to remove state subsidies for larger ’parlour type’ houses. The various defences put forward in support of the room suggest that for the majority of working-class housewives a parlour was a key marker of respectability with the potential to shape both the behaviours and aspirations of a household. Contemporary and reflective autobiographical sources suggest that the occasional use of this space, which became a key factor in opposition discourse, was precisely what women valued most about its presence. Recent controversy over the so-called bedroom tax, a key factor of Conservative austerity policies, suggests that the notion of extra space remains a contentious issue in state-subsidised households at the present time.


17 December 2018- 17h-19h - ODG Salle 255 : Marie-Jeanne Rossignol (Paris Diderot) and Claire Parfait (en délégation au LARCA) – Presentation of Ecrire l’histoire depuis les marges : une anthologie des historiens africains-américains 1855-1865 (mai 2018).

  • Après une longue période d’oubli, les historiens africains-américains du XIXè siècle et des premières décennies du XXè siècle ont été redécouverts. Leurs travaux sont à nouveau disponibles aux Etats-Unis et ont donné lieu à quelques monographies et ouvrages collectifs. Cette anthologie, en ligne et interactive, comprend des chapitres traduits mais également de longues notices d’introduction. Elle soulève des questions dont la pertinence est particulièrement vive aujourd’hui, que ce soit l’exclusion de certaines catégories de la population du récit national, ou le militantisme des historiens.


11 January 2019 - 14h-16h : Richard Blackett presents the most recent book by Martha S. Jones, Birthright Citizens : A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (New York : Cambridge University Press, 2018).

  • Discussants : Claire Parfait (LARCA), Michaël Roy (Paris Nanterre), Marie-Jeanne Rossignol (LARCA).
  • Dans Birthright Citizens, Martha S. Jones montre comment les militants africains-américains s’emparèrent de la question de leur propre citoyenneté avant la guerre de Sécession. Alors qu’on cherchait à promouvoir la “colonization” (soit départ) des Américains d’origine africaine vers l’Afrique, et que s’amenuisaient les droits qu’ils avaient acquis au moment de la Révolution américaine, les Africains-Américains libres menèrent la bataille de la citoyenneté dans les assemblées, les conventions et les tribunaux. A tout moment, en dépit de decisions contraires de la Cour supreme (1857, Dred Scott), ils manifestèrent leur position, à savoir que leur citoyenneté était fondée sur leur naissance aux Etats-Unis. Martha S. Jones réalise avec cet ouvrage une étude unique de la citoynneté noire avant la guerre de Sécession, fondée sur des sources archivistiques nouvelles.


4 March 2019 - 17h-19h : Presentation of Will Slauter’s book Who Owns the News ? A History of Copyright (Stanford University Press, 2019).

  • Discussants : Allan Potofsky (LARCA) and Stéphanie Prévost (LARCA)


15 March 2019 - 10h-12h30, ODG salle 358 : session with Jack Rakove (Stanford) : Revolution, Constitution, and James Madison : Then and Now

  • Introduction : Bertrand Van Ruymbeke (Paris 8 et IUF)
  • Jack Rakove (Stanford) : "Reflections on the Real Madisonian Constitution"
  • Discussants :
    • Allan Potofsky (LARCA) : "Jack Rakove’s contribution to Atlantic History ?"
    • François Vergniolle de Chantal (LARCA) : "The Madisonian Republic in the Age of Trump"


25 March 2019 - double session : 14h-16h and 17h-19h, ODG 830 :

  • 14h-16h, ODG 830 : Jennifer Klein (Yale University, Visiting Professor at LARCA), Laura Lee Downs (Chair of gender history, IUE), Pat Thane (King’s College, London) and Capri Cafaro (former Democrat Senator in Ohio, Visiting Professor at LSE), “Women, Work, and Welfare : A history of Gender and Precarious Labour Markets in Britain and the US." (Joint session with LARCA’s Gender research group and ICT laboratory).

  • 17h-19h, ODG 830 : Sarah Piersall (Cambridge), « The Politics of Polygamy in Early America ».
  • Most people presume the history of polygamy in North America only really began with the controversies surrounding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah in the nineteenth century. In fact, what happened to the Mormons was near the end. So many people in the early modern period were so successful in their obliteration of polygamy that few recall that there were conflicts over it. Such little-known battles over marriage reveal much, not only about households, gender, and sexuality, but also about colonies, nations, and empires.


15 April 2019- 17h-19h : Steven O’Connor (Paris 4), "’A Frenchman can be a good fellow and a good soldier’ : Integrating the Free French Forces into the British Eighth Army, 1942."

  • Discussant : Franziska Heimburger (Paris 4)
  • July 1940, shortly after the fall of France, Winston Churchill insisted that the British high command organise immediately, in coordination with General Charles de Gaulle, ‘strong’ forces of French exiles who wanted to continue the war against Germany. The British army’s mission to these Free French forces, named the ‘Spears Mission’ after its commander General Edward Spears, struggled to achieve this goal. In the Franco-British campaign to take Syria, the Free French soldiers fought not against Germans but fellow Frenchmen of the Vichy garrison. Worse still, the British were unable to provide sufficient transport or artillery to their ally. It was a bitter experience for the Free French. However, in 1942 the 1st Free French Brigade joined the British Eighth Army in Libya. By now the Brigade was one of the best equipped units in the desert and performed outstandingly at the defence of Bir Hakeim.
  • How does an army integrate foreign soldiers, overcoming the differences of language, culture, training, equipment ? This presentation will examine the work of the Spears Mission which played an important role in Free French success in 1942. The liaison officers of the Spears Mission represented Free French needs and problems to the British high command, while also having responsibility for ensuring that the Free French followed British procedures and orders. Managing Franco-British military relations was a difficult task and sometimes the Mission was the victim of both sides’ frustration. Yet the liaison officers were effective : they helped the Free French forces reach British standards and convinced the British high command to deploy them to the frontline. Their careful preparations paid off at Bir Hakeim where the Free French demonstrated to the world that France had not been defeated.


Program 2017-2018

27 November 2017 : Alexandre Rios-Bordes (Paris Diderot, EILA-ICT), "Les savoirs de l’ombre : la surveillance militaire des populations étasuniennes (1917-1941)." 12h-14h, Bât. Olympe de Gouges, salle 830.

  • Cette intervention propose de se pencher sur cette forme singulière de savoirs sur les populations que les forces armées étasuniennes commencent de réunir à partir de la Première Guerre mondiale au nom - et en fonction - de la problématique guerrière. Il s’agit de montrer pourquoi et comment se met alors en place une forme de pénétration de la société à la fois radicalement asymétrique et presque insensible qu’est la surveillance d’Etat.


22 January 2018 : Nathalie Caron (Paris 4) et Elise Marienstras (Emérite, Paris Diderot) present the posthumous book of Naomi Wulf, Une autre démocratie en Amérique (1824-1844) : Orestes Brownson, un regard politique (PUPS, 2017). 12h-14 h, Bât. Olympe de Gouges, salle 830.


19 March 2018 : Lauric Henneton (Versailles Saint-Quentin), presents his book La Fin du rêve américain ? (Odile Jacob, 2017), 12h30-14h30, Bât. Olympe de Gouges, salle 829.


25 June 2018 : Joint seminar with the Gender research group. 17h00-19h00, ODG, room 830. Myriam Boussahba-Bravard (LARCA), on her recent publications in gender history : a volume edited with Rebecca Rogers, Women in International and Universal Exhibitions, 1878-1937 (Routledge, 2017), and the edited volume resulting from a collaboration between EHNE and Mnémosyne, L’Europe des femmes 18e-21e siècle (Perrin, 2017).

  • Discussant : Stéphanie Prévost (LARCA).


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