Check it out: a Webinar of interest to all AW researchers on 18 April

Dear AW graduate students, AW colleagues, and friends of the AW Program: Please consider participating in the following “Webinar,” which will be of special interest to our Department’s graduate students for methodological reasons, among others! Note that Prof. Laurent Dubois, our program’s keynote speaker this Fall, is one of three eminent specialists in imperial history to be participating in the event. Happy viewing!


Dear H-France Subscribers:

A reminder that H-France’s spring webinar is scheduled for 18 April 2013 at 4:00 e.t.. Designed particularly for graduate students, the seminar is open to anyone.

The topic for the spring webinar is “Writing the History of Empire: Past Approaches, New Perspectives.” Eric Jennings, University of Toronto, will lead the seminar, and he will be joined by Alice Conklin, The Ohio State University, and Laurent Dubois, Duke University.

Charles Walton, Yale University, will serve as moderator of the webinar.

The readings for the seminar and questions to consider related to the readings are listed below.

We certainly would encourage you to include the webinar in any appropriate graduate course that you may be teaching and recommend it to your graduate students and to your colleagues.
Information will be forthcoming as to the procedures to sign into the webinar.

Best Wishes,
David K. Smith
H-France Editor-in-Chief

Webinar Reading List:

The readings below marked with an * may be obtained freely from the following web site:
User Name: H-France2
Password: Cityoflights

Gregory Mann, “What was the Indigénat? The Empire of Law in French West Africa” Journal of African History 50 (2009): 331-353.

Clifford Rosenberg, “”The International Politics of Vaccine Testing in Interwar Algiers,” The American Historical Review 117, no. 3 (June 2012): 671-97.

*Alice Conklin, “Boundaries Unbound: Teaching French History as Colonial History, and Colonial History as French History,” Forum, French Historical Studies 23: 2 (Spring 2000), 215-238.

The Chapter “Caribbean France” in Laurent Dubois’ Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France (University of California Press, 2010).

*Laurent Dubois’ syllabus for his “Global France” course.

*Laurent Dubois’ blog.

Webinar Questions:

For discussion of the assigned materials, participants should consider the following broad categories: a) experimentation in the colonies b) national identity and the colonies, or the colonies as imperial nation state c) the question of law and practice d) recent historiographical trends and the boundaries and synergies between French colonial history and other colonial histories and/or area studies.

More specifically, we would like to raise the following questions:

What are the strengths of the different approaches taken by Conklin and Dubois in their syllabi, one on teaching “French history as colonial history,” the other on “Global France”? How do the differences (one developed in the late 1990s, the other a decade later, reflect shifts in the historiography of France’s empire over the past ten years?

Mann argues that the indigénat “enabled the fiction that institutions and procedures prevailed over individuals and practices” (p. 352). He also uses the term “alibi” to describe the indigénat. In what ways are “fiction” and “alibi” useful terms of analysis for understanding colonial violence in West Africa under French rule?

How can we best use colonial sources to write a social history of empire? Is that what Mann is attempting to do?

In Soccer Empire, Dubois attempts to use the history of soccer to examine the history of empire. To what extent does a cultural object like sport allow us to see aspects of colonial and post-colonial history that other approaches do not?

According to Rosenberg and Mann, what are some of the ways that the French colonial state practiced a form of government grounded in difference and coercion while maintaining a republican rhetoric of assimilation and eventual inclusion? Are Mann and Rosenberg’s conclusions about the effects of colonial governance on colonizer and colonized, based on very different case studies, complementary?

How does Rosenberg’s triangular framing of Algeria, France, and Geneva in his study of vaccine testing in Algiers offer a new way of thinking about “colonial” histories, especially the concept of “colonial laboratory”?