En 1980, François Furet créait la première chaire d’études nord-américaines tournante à l’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales en partenariat avec la French-American Foundation. C’est néanmoins l’élection de Jean Heffer à une direction d’études permanente en 1984 qui marqua la véritable naissance du Centre d’études nord-américaines. Il s’agissait de pallier la longue indifférence du milieu universitaire français à l’objet de recherche nord-américain. En l’espace d’une génération, le CENA, sous la direction successive de Jean Heffer et de François Weil, a contribué à donner une impulsion décisive aux études nord-américaines en France. Cet anniversaire est l’occasion pour ses membres de poursuivre une réflexion, menée depuis ses origines, sur le champ nord-américaniste qui demeure encore largement dans une position minoritaire au sein de l’hexagone. Plutôt qu’une célébration des trente dernières années, ce colloque international cherche à opérer un retour critique et à offrir un regard prospectif sur des propositions heuristiques et des pratiques de recherche interdisciplinaire sur l’Amérique du Nord, en histoire et en anthropologie, mais aussi en géographie, sociologie et sciences politiques. Organisé par l’ensemble de l’équipe, tant les chercheurs ou enseignants-chercheurs statutaires que les doctorants, il souhaite ainsi donner une impulsion nouvelle aux études nord-américaines en France et refonder le dialogue transatlantique entre spécialistes des États-Unis et du Canada.
Wednesday 4th June
Amphithéâtre François Furet
EHESS, 105 boulevard Raspail 75006 Paris
- Mr. Pierre-Cyrille Hautcœur, President of the EHESS
- Mr. Philip Breeden (to be confirmed), Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, Embassy of the United States of America
- Ms. Sylvie Bédard, Director of the Canadian Cultural Centre
- Representative of the région Île de France
- Mr. Arnaud Roujou de Boubée, Director of the Franco-American Commission
- Ms. Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, Director of the Paris Office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States
- Mr. Richard Rechtman, Director of the LabEx TEPSIS
- Mr. Michel Wievorka, Administrator of the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme
- Mr. Jean-Michel Blanquer, President of the Institut des Amériques
- Ms. Isabelle Alfandary, President of the French Association of American Studies
- Ms. Hélène Harter, President of the Association française d’études canadiennes
- Ms. Véronique Boyer, Director of Mondes Américains – UMR 8168 (CNRS/EHESS)
- Ms. Cécile Vidal, Director of the CENA
North American Studies in Transnational Perspective, by François Weil, EHESS, CENA/Mondes Américains, Recteur de l’Académie de Paris, Chancelier des universités
International Perspectives on North American Studies
North American studies have so far been marginal in France, especially when compared to the massive body of literature produced every year in the United States. This reality prompted the members of the CENA to question the very object of their research, whether in the collective book Chantiers d’Histoire américaine (1994), the AMNOR project on the history of North American studies in France, or, more recently the European undertaking Historians across Borders (2014). Looking back on thirty years of research, two evolutions seem obvious. CENA members have mostly focused their research on the US. This raises the question of the relative weight of the histories and historiographies of the US and Canada. What place does the category “North America” hold in our research? Can we look across and beyond national boundaries to better account for its continental dimension? Moreover, while North-American studies scholars in France used to collaborate mostly with their American or Canadian counterparts, they are now in close dialogue with other European researchers working on similar topics. How will this affect the field of North-American studies in Europe? How is the North American history produced in Europe different from the literature coming from other continents?
- Elsa Devienne, Ph.D. Student
- Thomas Grillot, researcher
- Paul Schor, associate professor
Does North America Exist?
Chair: Jacques Portes, Université of Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, CENA/Mondes Américains
- North America from the Top Down: Visions of New France by Catherine Desbarats and Allan Greer, McGill University
- In Search of a Continent: North America after the Localist Turn by Pekka Hämäläinen, Oxford University
Discussant: Bertrand Van Ruymbeke, Université Paris 8 Vincennes - Saint Denis
North American History Outside of the United States
Chair: Isabelle Richet Udry, Université Paris-Diderot, LARCA
- Is There such a Thing as a European Perspective on North American History? by Maurizio Vaudagna, Università degli Studi di Torino e del Piemonte Orientale
- The Impact of Francophone Historiography on the Writing of United States History by Greg Robinson, UQAM
Discussant: Paul Schor, Université Paris Diderot, LARCA
Thursday 5th June
43 avenue Georges Mandel 75116 Paris
Among the centers dedicated to cultural areas at the EHESS, the CENA is both strongly attached to a disciplinary approach between history and anthropology, and to a research tradition that claims the unity of the social sciences. Difficulties arise from the highly uneven development of North American history and anthropology combined with the relative lack of interest of other disciplines. What is the status of the field for researchers who work on the United States? An object of research, an analytical framework, a case study? In what way is our perception of the North American field shaped by our discipline? Do our specific methodologies influence our perspective? Is our approach affected by the fact that we work on a society that is close to our own? Beyond the increasing injunction for interdisciplinarity as the sole source of innovation, in what ways can we actually cross disciplines in our daily research practices? How does the lack of sociologists and political scientists within our laboratory impact our perspective on North American studies?
- Jean-Paul Lallemand-Stempak, Ph.D. Student
- Sara Le Menestrel, researcher
- Nicolas Martin-Breteau, doctor
- Pauline Peretz, associate professor
The United States: A Case Study for a Comparative Approach?
Chair: Marie Mauzé, CNRS, LAS
- Recasting Relegation: Foibles and Fruits of Studying Urban Marginality in America by Loïc Wacquant, University of California at Berkeley
- Toward a Reciprocal Anthropology: A Dialogical and Comparative Approach between France and the United States by Anne Raulin, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense, LAIOS
Discussant: Sébastien Chauvin, University of Amsterdam
The United States: A Field of Interdisciplinary Dialogue
Chair: Christian Topalov, EHESS, CMH
- Law, History and the American State by William J. Novak, University of Michigan
- Perfectionism from Civil War to Civil Rights: For an Interdisciplinary Reframing of Contemporary African American History (1870s - 1970s) by Nicolas Martin-Breteau, EHESS, CENA/Mondes Américains
Discussant: Daniel Sabbagh, Sciences Po, CERI
Counting and Analyzing: North American Studies as Social Science
At a time when the narrative form of history writing and the cultural turn are far from losing their power of attraction on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, what place should be granted to quantitative and longitudinal studies? Should we still favor an approach based on comparisons, generalizations and modelizations? The CENA was founded by an economic historian both close to the so-called Annales School and a staunch advocate of cliometrics. The Center has remained committed to ever more diversified and innovative disciplinary and methodological research directions. In this framework, are these epistemological and methodological choices leading us toward a different history of North America, and new analyses of the relationships between individuals and society on one hand, and between the various spheres of politics, the economy, the social, and the cultural, on the other?
- Alexia Blin, Ph.D. Student
- Pierre Gervais, Professor
- Aurélien Gillier, Ph.D. Student
- Yann Philippe, Associate professor
America's Weight: Measuring, Quantifying and Understanding the United States
Chair: Jean Heffer, EHESS, CENA/Mondes Américains
- Whatever Happened to (American) Economic History and Could the "History of Capitalism" Become the Newer Economic History? by Colleen Dunlavy, University of Wisconsin
- Cliometrics Today by Alexia Blin, EHESS, CENA/Mondes Américains, and Pierre Gervais, Université Paris Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3, CREW
Discussant: Alice Kessler-Harris, Columbia University
Another View? Questioning the American Model
Chair: Denis Lacorne, Sciences Po, CERI
- Philanthropy and American History by Olivier Zunz, University of Virginia
- Political Science: A Transatlantic Empire? by Vincent Michelot, Institut d'études politiques de Lyon
Discussant: François Cusset, Université de Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense
Friday 6th June
43 avenue Georges Mandel, 75116 Paris
North American Space and Scales
The analysis of space and attention to scales have been characteristic of many works done at CENA, drawing inspiration both from the long French tradition of bringing history and geography together, and the historical geography school in the United States. At the time of a much-talked about spatial turn, the inclusion of CENA into the American Worlds research unit, which puts together five research centers covering all the Americas, is the occasion to rethink the configuration of North America at the hemispheric, Atlantic, and imperial scales. Can they help reshape historical narratives long told within the national frames of Canada and the United States? How do our scales of analysis shape our understanding of space as it was historically experienced? Do those various intermediate scales help us rethink local history at a time of global history?
- Virginie Adane, Ph.D. Student
- Nicolas Barreyre, associate professor
- Manuel Covo, doctor
- Gilles Havard, researcher
- Alexandre Rios-Bordes, Ph.D. Student
Rethinking the Local: The Construction and Appropriation of Space
Chair: Annick Lempérière, Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne CRALMI/Mondes Américains
- At the Urban Scale: The Control and Appropriation of Social Space by Yann Philippe, Université de Reims, CENA/Mondes Américains, and Aurélien Gillier, EHESS, CENA/Mondes Américains
- Constructing Space at the Regional Scale: The Case of the Midwest by Nicolas Barreyre, EHESS, CENA/Mondes Américains, and Tangi Villerbu, Université de La Rochelle, CRHIA
Discussant: Renaud Le Goix, Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne, Géographie-Cités
Hemisphere, Atlantic, Empire: The Larger Scales of North America
Chair: Marie-Jeanne Rossignol, Université Paris Diderot, LARCA
- Intertwining Scales: The Caribbeanization of the Americas by Manuel Covo, EHESS, CENA/Mondes Américains, and Romy Sánchez , Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, CRALMI/Mondes Américains
- Rethinking Continental Space: North America as Imperial Playground by Alexandre Dubé, Washington University in St. Louis
Discussant: Jean-Frédéric Schaub, EHESS, CRBC/Mondes Américains
North American Fields
As his research interests have evolved, Jean Heffer has constantly explored new fields, such as the port of New York, the Pacific Ocean as an “American lake”, and Lincoln County, Missouri. Following his lead, the CENA’s members have worked on a variety of North American territories over the years. In particular, they have focused on major urban centers, like New York, Chicago, and New Orleans, or on cross-border areas in the North-East, the Midwest and the Great Lakes, Louisiana and the Caribbean, and the West Coast and the Pacific. Such scholarly agendas have emerged for complex reasons, which this conference seeks to address. Since the exploration of new fields stems not from a desire to fill in historical gaps but rather from new interpretative frameworks, this session will also analyze the relationships between local and regional history on the one hand and national and continental history on the other. It will ask: What part do we play in the debates over the dominant paradigms that govern North American history thanks to our fields of study? In what way do we alter the narratives of national or continental history by writing from distinct territories or regions considered peripheral in North America? Is it possible to write a polycentric history that takes into account the variety of actors and places from which changes occurred?
- Camille Amat, Ph.D. Student
- Sonia Birocheau, Ph.D. Student
- Romain Huret, associate professor
- Emmanuelle Perez, Ph.D. Student
- Cécile Vidal, associate professor
The Reconfiguration of Political History
Chair: Annick Foucrier, Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne, CRHNA
- Petitions, Local History, and National Narrative by Daniel Carpenter, Harvard University, and Romain Huret, Université Lumière Lyon 2, CENA/Mondes Américains
- The Paradigmatic City? Chicago and the American Urban Experience by Andrew J. Diamond, Université Paris-Sorbonne
Discussant: Thomas Sugrue, University of Pennsylvania
North American History from the Margins
Chair: Emmanuel Désveaux, EHESS, LIAS
- North American History from a West Coast/Pacific Perspective by Emmanuelle Perez, EHESS, CENA/Mondes Américains
- Writing the History of North America from Indian Country. The View from the North-Central Plains, 1800s-1870s by Gilles Havard, CNRS, CENA/Mondes Américains, and Raymond J. DeMallie, Indiana University
Discussant: Richard White, Stanford University
Where is Gender in North American Studies?, by Nancy Cott, Harvard University
Présentations : (texte & vidéo)
North America from the Top Down: Visions of New France, par Catherine Desbarats et Allan Greer
North American Studies or United States of America Studies? Since the organization of scholarship in France places Mexico firmly under the aegis of Latin American Studies and treats Canada as, at best, an afterthought, a field that seems to encompass a continent tends, in practice, to focus on a single nation-state. This imbalance seems quite understandable in view of the continued ascendancy of the United States in today’s world. (There is both a rational dimension – understanding the history, culture and society of the USA is of great consequence to everyone – and a less conscious component – scholars gravitating to the glamour of the superpower – to this fascination.) However, for historians interested in the centuries of North American history that preceded the American Revolution, a narrow focus on the Thirteen [British, continental] Colonies distorts our understanding.
When we contemplate the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, many of the most significant zones of contact and colonization were located in the north, in territories now under Canadian jurisdiction: the fisheries of “Terre-neuve” that attracted more transatlantic shipping than any other part of North America, the Arctic coasts where Inuit and European mariners converged, Hudson Bay and its vast interior watersheds. And for 150 years, New France was the one imperial project of continental dimensions, entangled with British and Spanish ventures, as well as with indigenous polities. Centered on the settlements of the St Lawrence Valley, it sent out commercial and diplomatic tentacles stretching from the Arctic to the Gulf of Mexico and as far west as the Rocky Mountains. This amorphous space of contact and colonization was, we argue, the joint creation of indigenous and French peoples, and it conditioned later developments across half a continent.
Our paper takes the form of a plea and an invitation: expand the geography of North America; temper the United-States-centric view with a more multi-centered approach to the continent’s past.
Among Empires: Jurisdictional Enclaves and Interpenetration in the American Southwest, par Pekka Hämäläinen
The history of the American Southwest is crusted with interpretations. A crossroads of three major American historiographies—Latin, North, and Native—it is a subfield that pulls in many directions, spawning diverging narratives. Instead of recognizable state of the art, we have a historiographical jigsaw puzzle of oddly shaped pieces with incompatible tabs and blanks. We have an ancient indigenous world that persevered under New Spain that nearly crumbled into expansionist indigenous realms that lost momentum against a reinvigorated Bourbon Spain—and yet continued to make mockery of colonial and national schemes deep into the nineteenth century, shaping events and outcomes as the Spanish North became the Mexican North and then the U.S. Southwest, an imperial extension of national space that had already morphed into a fluid transnational borderland when a formal boundary line was drawn on the ground.
This convoluted history draws our attention precisely because it unsettles received notions of how history unfolds. Interpretations multiply by the telling, each offering a novel solution to the narrative puzzle, but they share a basic tenet: they present the history of the American Southwest as a sequence. They explain its apparent oversupply of possibilities through chronology, focusing on how power dynamics shift, how societies ascend over others, and how historical layers pile up. The historiographical pieces do not really need to fit because they can be stacked. This essay proposes a different dynamic. Instead of chronology, it emphasizes spatiality, and instead of focusing on how societies rise and fall in relation to one another, it traces how they expand, elide, interpenetrate, and creatively ignore one another. North American historiography has a long tradition in the study of intercultural contact and coexistence and it has generated a series of spatial models—the frontier, the borderland, the middle ground, and the Native ground—that help conceptualize hybrid social spaces. A set of axioms runs through this scholarship: that a collision of expanding powers results in either retreats or borderlands where power is constantly contested; that empires can overlap at their edges and only at their edges; that mutual weakness is the essential ingredient of sustained cross-cultural coexistence. This essay challenges all those axioms. It uncovers an enduring world of coexistence grounded in mutual strength rather than mutual weakness. It shows how several expanding powers and empires survived in the same space, interpenetrating each other far beyond narrow borderlands zones. And it illuminates an apparently paradoxical situation where societies expand, feel powerful, and yet either fail or choose not to forge inviolate territorial domains.
To understand the seemingly paradoxical world of the American Southwest, we need to think about power and space in new ways. Like other contested worlds of natives, newcomers, and empires, the Southwest was a world made of fragments. There, as elsewhere, political spaces—homelands, villages, colonies, empires, places of refuge—were not, and often were not meant to be, masses of undifferentiated territory, the solid, color-coded blocks found in most maps, both ancient and modern. Instead, they were made of enclaves and corridors, key economic and ecological nodes that marked out jurisdictions and projected power in space. They were politically patchy entities wrapped in irregular borders and punctured with holes. Those holes are the thing that matters: they were interstitial spaces where competing societies and empires could thrust their presence into the realms of others and become spatially and politically tangled. This is what happened in the American Southwest from the seventeenth into nineteenth century, and tracing that dynamic helps unpack one of America's most contested spaces.
Is There Such a Thing as a European Perspective on United States History?, par Maurizio Vaudagna
The history of Europe-based Americanist historians is one of tension between national, regional and cultural backgrounds on the one hand and American public and scholarly life on the other. Most scholars attempting to reconstruct “Old World” American history writing have focused on individual nations and have applied the notion of Europe as a “geographical expression,” with an emphasis on its variety of national entities. The search for Europe-wide points of view on American history by “Old World” scholars and narrators is in fact still quite new, despite the fact that “Europe” is understood as an identity, a historical idea and a process of political and institutional unification imbued with profound, common meaning.
For Europeans, “America” and the United States has never been a distant, neutral subject but rather a hotbed of fears and attractions that have influenced “Old World” Americanists and permeated their work.Concomitant issues related to European environments have therefore been more important for understanding“Old World” approaches to American history than the specifics of specialized historical methods and procedures. Two factors in particular make it difficult to find European perspectives on the subject: the tortured nature of the ongoing debate over European identity; and the need to relate this identity to the ups and downs of the transatlantic relationship, which in the twentieth century saw Europe move from world ruler to “second pillar” of the Atlantic exchange while the United States moved from “distant mirror” to “European power”. We therefore need both Europeanists and Americanists to present Europe-wide visions of the American past, which have been deeply affected by the tragedies and revivals of twentieth-century European history.
Europe now represents the tension between variety and sociocultural approximation. As a result, we historians who deal with the European perspective on the American past must take two important steps. First,we need to build a geo-cultural and geo-historical map of how Americanists have reconstructed United States history in light of their national/regional contexts. Those located in the United Kingdom, the Iberian Peninsula and the former socialist world are just some of the more visible among many. Second, we must use the existing fragments of a pan-European vision of American history, including historical subjects and approaches, as our starting point for studying the phenomenon in greater depth. “Connection history” –involving everything from migration and foreign relations to popular culture – has responded to the specifically European need to explore interactions between the “free world colossus” and “Old Europe.” Subjects like the American Revolution, the Civil War, the industrial take-off, the Great Depression and the Cold War have stimulated Europe-wide scholarly and public attention from a post-Eurocentric, transnational perspective. “American exceptionalism” has been largely criticized throughout Europe for having built a nationalist hierarchy of civilizations. Finally, “Old World” Americanists were among the first to start reconsidering and redefining the transatlantic relationship within a global context – an important subject from both a historical and a contemporary perspective.
The Impact of Francophone Historiography on the Writing of United States History, par Greg Robinson
This paper examines the influence of francophone scholarship on the writing of North American history (i.e. historical writing about the United States) and uses several different methods to evaluate it. First, there is the author’s own experience as a US-born and -educated Americanist teaching in a French-language university in Montréal, and compiling course syllabi. Next, there is a study of various areas of US history in which the first important contributions were made by scholars writing in French, including foreign relations, immigration and the history of Louisiana. Ethnic studies, a category long marginalized within the US academy, is marked by the work of a succession of francophone scholars, even as the history of Native Americans bears a powerful French influence. Finally, this paper examines in quantitative terms the visibility of francophone scholars on the U.S. historical profession by using library and book review databases to trace readership.
Recasting Relegation: Foibles and Fruits of Studying Urban Marginality in America, par Loïc Wacquant
In the postindustrial city, relegation takes the form of real or imaginary consignment to distinctive sociospatial formations variously and vaguely referred to as “inner cities,” “ghettos,” “enclaves,” “no-go areas,” “problem districts,” or simply “rough neighborhoods.” How do we characterize and differentiate these spaces, what determines their trajectory (birth, growth, decay and death), whence comes the intense stigma attached to them, and what constellations of class, ethnicity and state do they both materialize and signify? These are the questions I pursued in my book Urban Outcasts through a methodical comparison of the trajectories of the black American ghetto and the European working-class peripheries in the era of neoliberal ascendancy. In this talk, I revisit this cross-continental sociology of “advanced marginality” to tease out its broader lessons for our understanding of the tangled nexus of symbolic, social and physical space in the polarizing metropolis at century’s threshold in particular, and for comparative urban studies in general. I also reflect on the scientific distortions attendant upon the unreflective adoption by European scholars of images, tropes, and categories constitutive of the scholarly and policy common sense of the United States.
Toward a Reciprocal Anthropology: A Dialogical and Comparative Approach between France and the United States, par Anne Raulin
Anthropology is now reconsidering its objects and methods since it is no longer a discourse of the West on the rest of the world. How can it be recast when it tries to seize specific features within the Western world, contrasting Europe and North America? This paper traces back an experimental project, which brought together five American anthropologists doing fieldwork in France and five French anthropologists working on the United States. The purpose was to share experiences of surveys not close to home but in seemingly close societies and cultures well informed on each other; more basically it aimed to launch new studies benefitting from those cross perceptions and knowledge. In this dialogic process, common concern emerged for specific notions, such as healing, clearly understated in France but perhaps overstated in the United States. Besides, the comparative approach stemmed from the peculiar interactions between anthropologists being at the same time foreign experts and native subjects expressing their own reflexivity. Whatever the processes, the endeavor implied a collective concern for interrogating basic categories circulating between both academic worlds, and for deciphering their common sense usages in specific social contexts, therefore revealing their singularity, which may not disclose a radical otherness but bring forth a significant otherness.
Discussant: Sébastien Chauvin
Law, History, and the American State, par William J. Novak
My paper draws attention to the vital role of interdisciplinary perspectives in law, history, sociology, and political science in redirecting our understanding of the origins, development, and nature of the American state. It also highlights the particularly formative role of an emerging French and American dialogue concerning the character of statecraft in largely democratic regimes. The paper begins with an acknowledgment of the difficulty of the state concept as articulated in the diverse theoretical contributions of John Dewey, Michel Foucault, and Pierre Bourdieu. It goes on to question the predominance of the essentially Weberian model of the state that has governed thinking about and controlled discussion of the American state for the last two generations. It concludes by using the interdisciplinary perspectives that have recently emerged in socio-legal studies in the United States to generate an alternative approach to American state development that takes account of the nature of democratic rule as well as the fungibility of the state/society boundary.
Contemporary African American History (1870s-1970s), par Nicolas Martin-Breteau
This paper seeks to redefine the coherence of contemporary African American history, from the first to the second Reconstruction. It has three main objectives. The first one concerns the chronology of African American history since the 1870s. I argue that the origins of the Movement have to be sought in the abandonment of Reconstruction, that is, in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. This period led to the set up of new political tactics to gain equal dignity and rights. The second objective relies on the concept of perfectionism in order to address the long coherence of African American political struggles after the Civil War. I consider that these struggles, under their different tactical forms, were oriented by a common perfectionist goal even when they were aimed at racial separatism. Thus, this presentation hopes to suggest a conclusion to the endless debate in African American historiography: The accommodation versus assertion argument, that is, the never-ending opposition between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. The third objective intends to show the fecundity of a transdisciplinary approach for a renewed study of African American history. I shall try to show that the study of the strategic coherence of the Movement cannot be undertaken within the frame of the sole historical discipline. In this task, historians must resort to tools and methods designed by other social sciences, like philosophy, sociology, and political science.
Discussant: Daniel Sabbagh
Whatever Happened to (American) Economic History—and Could the “History of Capitalism” Become the “Newer” Economic History?, par Colleen Dunlavy
It is a curious paradox, as William H. Sewell, Jr., has noted, that historians’ attention to economic affairs has declined precipitously since the 1970s, just as dramatic changes beset the global economy. Precisely a century earlier, Frederick Jackson Turner, too, urged his colleagues to pay more attention to the dramatic changes then underway in the American economy. “The transformations through which the United States is passing in our own day,” he noted, “are so profound, so far-reaching, that it is hardly an exaggeration to say that we are witnessing the birth of a new nation in America.” How is it that a century later historians again find themselves ill-equipped to make sense of the economic transformation going on around them? The conventional understanding is straight-forward: economic history took a “cliometric” turn in the 1960s, embracing the theories, methods, and concerns of economics and radically separating itself from the discipline of history. But a fatal flaw underlies this rendering of the field’s history: a version of presentism that defines the field of economic history in terms of what it became and searches backwards in time for its roots. This essay restores a fuller, more useful memory of economic history by recalibrating our vision in two ways. It defines the field not in terms of what it became but as it stood before the “new” economic history emerged. Tracing the decline of this broader, more capacious field reveals a hitherto unnoticed “fragmentation” in American history, the fragmentation of economic history into an array of subfields, some of which now, a half century later, seem to be coalescing into the newly emerging field called the “history of capitalism.” It also “follows the money,” paying attention to the research funding that gave birth to the broader field, periodically pushed it in new directions, and ultimately helped to bring about its demise. The last section of the essay asks whether the emerging field called the “history of capitalism” could become the next-generation—the “newer”—economic history. My answer, in brief, is yes, maybe.
Cliometrics Today, par Alexia Blin et Pierre Gervais
Cliometrics refers to the application of economic methods and models to historical questions. It was developed in American universities in the late 1950s, and has generated contrasted reactions on both sides of the Atlantic, among historians and economists, ever since. The evolution of cliometrics, which borrows its methods both from historians and economists, has to be understood in precise institutional contexts.
This paper intends to analyze current debates about the status of cliometrics, and its evolution since the pioneers’ works of the 1960s and 1970s, particularly in the framework of the response to its diffusion in France. This method, the ways it has been applied, and the debates it triggered in both countries raise the question of the role of economic “models” in historical research, and of the tension and possible bridges between the two scientific fields of economics and history. We show that this debate is still very much alive today, beyond the apparent divergence of economic history and the historical mainstream.
Discussant: Alice Kessler-Harris
Philanthropy and American History, par Olivier Zunz
In his autobiography, Benjamin Franklin tells how he had advised a Rev. Gilbert Tennent “in procuring a subscription for erecting a new meeting house.” Franklin told him: “In the first place, I advise you to apply to all those whom you know will give something; next to those you are uncertain whether they will give anything or not, and show them the list of those who have given; and lastly do not neglect those who you are sure will give nothing, for in some of them you may be mistaken. He laugh’d and thank’d me, and said he would take my advice. He did so, for he asked of everybody, and he obtained a much larger sum than he expected.”
This important counsel by a Founding Father, dutifully followed, sums up the large role philanthropy has played—and continues to play—in building a strong civil society in the nation. Philanthropy, however, appears only episodically and incompletely in the large narrative of American history. Why a large and enterprising part of American governance has not been more prominent in successive accounts of American history is the problem that will occupy me in this essay. I intend to focus on philanthropy as a critical part of capitalism and a key building block of civil society.
Discussants: Pierre Gervais et Pauline Peretz
From Analytical Narratives to Cliometric Models, par Jean Heffer
Most of my personal research has to do with quantitative history. If one considers history as a scientific inquiry, there are two legitimate ways of writing it: the first one, which is also the traditional one, is narrative and emphasizes the chronological sequence of events; the other one, which is called analytic, borrows from the social sciences to search how one can partly or totally explain such a sequence. Usually historians mix both approaches, narrative and analytic, in various proportions. As for me, I am inclined to think analytically, when I have to deal with a historical problem, and I shall show the scope and the limitations of this way of writing history. Treating of a “big problem” like the origins of the Civil War implies that one accounts for a very complex sequence of events, even for a more limited subject as the political realignment of the 1850’s, with many branching points, where the future may take different directions. In modeling such complex dynamic interactions, Nobel Prize winner Robert W. Fogel (Economics and Politics, 1992) presents a diagram of sequential and path-dependent choices too difficult to interpret and acknowledges the transition matrices that govern the past are not easy to estimate. The quantitative historian must choose a less ambitious task. Analytic narratives are one of these approaches. It is “a social science research method seeking to combine historical narratives with the rigor of rational choice theory, particularly through the use of game theory” (en.wikipedia.org). The analytic narrativist describes the facts to be explained and then seeks the element(s) that account for the rise and the decline of the system. Usually rational choice institutionalism, based on neoclassical economics models balancing costs and benefits, is the framework of analysis. I’ll comment the paper by Barry R. Weingast (1998) that explains how the balance rule (the number of Slave and non-Slave states should be equal) was the key institution that protected the political stability until the 1850’s, and why its demise contributed to the Civil War. By focusing on a key factor, an analytic narrative throws light on a complex question, but not without limitations. That is the reason why in my personal research I would rather deal with more limited topics that may be formalized as models and estimated by cliometric methods. As an example, I’ll analyze my last two papers on the price of land in Lincoln County (Missouri), 1860-1870, and the productivity of French whaling in the nineteenth century, 1817-1867. Both models are descriptive and explicit; they try to explain the price and productivity factors, estimating data collected in the archives. I speak in favor of such an approach so that the historians do not give up the academic field to the economists, as it happened in American universities.
At the Urban Scale: The Control and Appropriation of Social Space, par Yann Philippe et Aurélien Gillier
How was urban space produced, appropriated and controlled in the twentieth-century American city? To address such a broad question at the intersection of history, sociology, political science and geography, this paper will focus on the construction of order at the city level. Given the centrality of coercion in order maintenance, a special attention will be given to policing. Moreover, municipal police departments can be defined by their capacity to regulate space at the city-level. Police officers thus encounter on a daily basis the city population in its various groups and neighborhoods. This interaction that creates social space will be the main object of our inquiry and will be considered from different angles. Using a vertical perspective, city space will be considered as a territory to be patrolled and controlled by the police. A more horizontal perspective will unearth the role and agency of the community in the co-production or counter-production of urban order. Finally we will examine the idea of a fragmented urban order resulting from the various dynamics of a negotiated process.
Constructing Space at the Regional Scale: The Case of the Midwest, par Nicolas Barreyre et Tangi Villerbu
This paper will propose an exploration of what it means to think of US history at the regional scale. Taking up the case of the Midwest throughout the nineteenth century, it follows two closely-intertwined but separate threads. One is historical: how did the Midwest emerge as a region in the long century, and what made this mid-scale relevant for Americans? The other is historiographical: can historians study what we know today as the Midwest even before the word existed? Or, putting it another way, what is the relevance of the regional scale for historians, even outside historical actors’ expressions? In an historiography where “regionalism” is often keyed to the South, we propose to explore the benefits and pitfalls of analyzing American history at midscale, half-way between the local and the national.
Discussant : Renaud Le Goix
Intertwining Scales: The Caribbeanization of the Americas, par Manuel Covo et Romy Sánchez
The so-called “global turn” has recently tended to create a narrative in which the Caribbean embodies an episteme for a global reading of the Americas. Deeply influenced by cultural and postcolonial studies, the social and political history of the Caribbean made the region a melting pot and a living symbol of a supposed American creole identity. The history of the Caribbean, however, has to navigate between North American—mostly U.S.—and Latin American historical narratives, making it both peripheral and difficult to nail down.
In this paper, we want to question the Caribbean’s location within American history as an unlikely whole. Focusing on scales and timelines enables us to rethink Caribbean history without resorting to narratives of exceptionalism. Indeed, a few historiographical assumptions should be questioned: the “modernity” of the region, or its multiculturality. Our hypothesis of a spatial and temporal arrhythmia calls for a re-interpretation of Caribbean history in an American context. By intertwining scales of analysis—global, imperial, Atlantic, hemispheric—we address the relevance of customary spatial models.
We argue here that the Caribbean is a spatial and chronological counterpoint. However, its definition and its delimitation constitute an historiographical challenge. Its geographical limits can be broadened from New Orleans to Salvador de Bahía, or narrowed to a range of islands and its close coastlands. The mobility of a “Caribbean diaspora” makes the borders even more blurry. At the same time, the timeline of the region—as much as a general one can be discerned—does not reflect “conventional chronologies” of the Americas. While a fluid definition of the region can be heuristic in many contexts, we claim as well that historicizing the Caribbean and emphasizing its complex geography helps redefine its position as part of, and apart from, the Americas.
Rethinking Continental Space: North America as Imperial Playground, par Alexandre Dubé
The North American spaces of early-modern empires are now many. The continent which bears the scars of faded Frontiers and the almost-fleeting memories of centers and peripheries, is now fractured into boundless oceans and blurry borderlands; it has been composed of varied “grounds” (Middle or Native), hybrid corporations, rebellious coves, plazas of order and chaos, societies of distant forts, enclaves of sovereignty, diasporic polities, regimes of concentration on the plantation, and geographies of intimacy. Everywhere, the liquid ghost of empire seems to insinuate itself, filling voids, adding a measure of meaning to countless daily gestures.
Early-modern imperial discourses haunt and shape institutions, structure resistance, organize knowledge. They could potentially be everywhere, waiting for the historian to reveal their presence, often (but now always) hidden from their contemporaries’ gaze, as Trevor Burnard recently reminded us.
What do historians gain, by such revelatory manifestation? What becomes of these myriads of “colonial realities” when they are rather labeled as “imperial”? Can they be differentiated from other forms of power relations? By marking the potential pervasiveness of empires, and especially of empire-as-composite-state, the current historiography has imported some of the persistent problems of elusive state-definition into imperial history: should empires be defined by a specific monopolistic claim? by their imprint on territory? by particular forms of knowledge?
This communication, using the example of the eighteenth-century “market” as a playground for empire in French North America, will explore some of the challenges in reconciling empires as institutions, law, networks, and place by revisiting some of the insights of a growing body of work on “imperial formations.
Petitions, Local History, and National Narrative, par Daniel Carpenter et Romain Huret
We outline a proposed study of the practices and uses of petitioning in the United States from the Early Republic to the late twentieth century. We seek to avoid both a functionalist analysis that views petitions as important only to the extent they induce different policy outcomes, as well as a nostalgic or celebratory reading that sees them as only a ritual tapping on the memory of the Revolution and the Founding. Beyond their vitality as sources for social scientists, petitions compose a central institution of contest and resistance in the United States. Practices of petitioning have often organized those at the margins of American society, mobilized authorities and concentrations of power to counter-organize and counter-attack, and have set the stage for broader organizational initiatives that came later. The power of the petition, we argue, lay in the flexibility and plasticity of complaints and requests sent to authorities. Petitions have been undertaken to redress real or perceived inequalities, which explains why the practice has been appropriated and re-appropriated by different social groups, from Native Americans, African-Americans, women both atomized and organized, religious minorities and majorities, new organizations of labor and landholders, and even corporations and rich businessmen. We explore the potential of petitioning to help social scientists write a different national narrative of American democracy.
The Paradigmatic City? Chicago and the American Urban Experience, par Andrew J. Diamond
Chicago has served as a laboratory for some of the most important studies on the postwar American city over the past several decades, from Arnold Hirsch’s classic Making the Second Ghetto to Rob Sampson’s more recent Great American City. As a result (and as the title of Sampson’s book aptly suggests), it is considered by many, tacitly or explicitly, to be a paradigmatic city that illuminates critical qualities and trends of the urban experience more clearly than other cities. In particular, historians and sociologists alike have exploited Chicago’s neighborhoods to demonstrate that neighborhoods, in themselves, matter a great deal. This paper will reflect on the generalizability of such claims by examining some rather exceptional features that shaped the dynamics and political possibilities of Chicago’s neighborhoods over the postwar decades—the strong state, which brought fierce political repression and aggressive neoliberal governance to the grassroots, and the centrality of race within the city’s political culture.
Discussant: Thomas Sugrue
North American History from a West Coast/Pacific Perspective, par Emmanuelle Perez
The United-States grew spatially after their independence, so historians have to choose between telling a history of what eventually—until today—became the territory of the United States or focus on what they were geographically at any moment of their history. Looking from the Pacific coast offers an alternative, by enhancing the distinction between space and territory as defined by the geographers. North America then becomes a space into which imperial formations tried to carve a territory. This perspective offers a way to close the gap between U.S. expansion on the continent and overseas and also allows to compare between the British, Spanish, Mexican and U.S. empires in North America. It also connects settler colonialism and economic imperialism with the Pacific as the new frontier. As such, California set out to be at the same time a place of expansion and investment for the center—with boom and bust—and a place of temptation, of exoticism, which could offer a counter-model, an alternative. For a long time a periphery, California, the far West and the Pacific Coast started to tell central things about what the U.S. was becoming from urban shapes to a more complex color line.
Writing the History of North America from Indian Country. The View from the North-Central Plains, 1800-1870, par Raymond J. DeMallie et Gilles Havard
Historians have not generally taken into account “Indian countries” when writing about North America. In this essay, we argue that writing from Indian Country means integrating different spaces, different peoples, but also, using anthropological methods and theories, confronting different types of behaviors and rationalities. For our purposes we will look at the north-central plains, along the Missouri River, northward through Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota, during the years 1800-1870. Specifically, we will raise questions about community and territoriality, taking into consideration the extent to which Indian societies and environments were impacted by Euro-Americans.
Discussant : Richard White
Where Is Gender In North American Studies?, par Nancy Cott
François Weil is the Chancellor of the universities of Paris. He is directeur d’études and a former president of the EHESS. He has worked on the social history of American industrialization, on migrations through the Atlantic world and North America, on the urban history of the US, and on the historiography of North America. His most recent monograph, entitled Family Trees, A History of Genealogy in America (Harvard University Press, 2013) offers a rich account of the American fascination with lineage and identity. He is now researching for a new book on migrations from France to the Americas since the second half of the 18th century.
Jacques Portes is Professor emeritus at the University of Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint Denis. He has worked on the relationships between France and Quebec, the Vietnam War and its consequences, mass media and politics in the United States. He has recently published several syntheses on present-day America (Le paradoxe américain : idées reçues sur les Etats-Unis, Le Cavalier bleu, 2011; Histoire des Etats-Unis - De 1776 à nos jours, Colin, 2010; Barak Obama : un tournant pour l’Amérique ?, Payot, 2008).
Catherine Desbarats is Associate Professor in History at McGill University. She teaches Canadian history and the history of New France, specializing in the political and economic history of New France. She is also the Director of the French Atlantic History Group.
Allan Greer is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Colonial North America at McGill University. His teaching and research interests centre on the history of early Canada in the context of colonial North America and the Early Modern Atlantic World. He has supervised graduate work on a wide range of theme and topics. Among his publications are La Nouvelle-France et le Monde (2009), Mohawk Saint: Catherine Tekakwitha and the Jesuits (2005), The People of New France (1997), The Patriots and the People (1993) and Peasant, Lord and Merchant (1985); books that have won a number of national and international prizes. He is currently at work on two projects: an overview of the history of New France and a comparative study of the clash of indigenous and European forms of land tenure in New Spain, New France and New England.
Pekka Hämäläinen, Rhodes Professor of American History, specialises in early and nineteenth century American history and has particular interest in Native American, environmental, and borderlands history. His 2008 book The Comanche Empire received several awards (including the Bancroft Prize). He is currently working on a book that traces the history of power relations and social worlds in North America from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century, integrating indigenous and European perspectives, borderlands and imperial histories, and transatlantic and continental approaches.
Bertrand Van Ruymbeke
Bertrand Van Ruymbeke, Professor of American History and Civilization at the Université de Paris VIII and author of L’Amérique avant les États‐Unis: Une histoire de l’Amérique anglaise (2013) specializes on diasporas, reformation history, Atlantic history, and the history of Early North America.
Isabelle Richet is Emerita Professor of American Studies at the Université Paris Diderot. After obtaining a Ph.D. in American history and civilization (EHESS-CENA), she published many books and articles on social movements, religious organizations and the place of religion in American society.
Maurizio Vaudagna, is full professor of Contemporary History, University of Eastern Piedmont, and director, Interuniversity Center for European-American History and Politics (consortium between the universities of Bologna, Eastern Piedmont, Florence, Turin and Triest). He has taught summer courses for many years at Cornell and Columbia University. His research interests have especially focused on American parties and the U.S. political system in a comparative perspective; the 1930s in Europe and America and the growth of the transatlantic welfare states; public and private in American life; American masculinity in the twentieth century; the public uses of history in Europe and America. Among his most recent publications are two edited volumes The Place of Europe in American History: Twentieth Century Perspectives, (2007) and Social Rights in Twentieth Century Europe and America (2009).
Greg Robinson is Professor of History at l'Université du Québec à Montréal and a researcher at that university’s Center for United States Studies and Chaire de Recherche sur Immigration, Ethnicité et Citoyenneté. A specialist in North American Ethnic Studies and U.S. Political History, Robinson teaches courses on African American history, Twentieth-Century U.S. Foreign Policy, American Immigration History, and visible minorities/racial groups, among others. He wrote By Order of the President: FDR and the Internment of Japanese Americans (Harvard University Press, 2001), A Tragedy of Democracy: Japanese Confinement in North America (Columbia University Press, 2009), winner of the 2009 History Book Prize of the Association for Asian American Studies, and After Camp: Portraits in Midcentury Japanese American Life and Politics (University of California Press, 2012).
Paul Schor is maître de conférences in American civilisation at the University of Paris-VII. He has worked on the history of the social construction of ethnic and racial categories in the United States since the Independence, especially on the use of public statistics to construct race. He currently works on a social history of consumers in the twentieth century, and on the differentiation of consumer practices and markets in racial, ethnic and social groups.
Marie Mauzé is a senior CNRS researcher in anthropology and a member of the Laboratoire d’anthropologie sociale. She has conducted fieldwork in British Columbia with the Kwakwaka’wakw since 1980 and visited several other Native communities. In addition to numerous articles published in French and English, she is the author of Les Fils de Wakai: Une histoire des Lekwiltoq ( ERC,1992) and the editor of Present Is Past: Some Uses of Tradition in Native Societies (University Press of America, 1997). She co-published, with Marine Degli, Arts premiers (Gallimard “Découvertes”, 2000). She is also co-editor, with Michael Harkin and Sergei Kan, of Coming to Shore: Northwest Coast Ethnology, Traditions, and Visions (University of Nebraska Press, 2004). She contributed to the edition of Claude Lévi-Strauss’s Oeuvres ( Gallimard “Pléiade”, 2008). Her current interests include the anthropology of art, the history of anthropology, the history of museum collections, and the relationship between museums and Native peoples. She is currently working on a book on the anthropology of the western and the native gaze on Northwest Coast art.
Loïc Wacquant is a sociologist, specializing in urban sociology, urban poverty, racial inequality, the body, social theory and ethnography. Wacquant is currently a Professor of Sociology and Research Associate at the Earl Warren Legal Institute, University of California, Berkeley, where he is also affiliated with the Program in Medical Anthropology and the Center for Urban Ethnography, and Researcher at the 'Centre de sociologie européenne' in Paris. He has been a member of the Harvard Society of Fellows, a MacArthur Prize Fellow, and has won numerous grants including the Fletcher Foundation Fellowship and the Lewis Coser Award of the American Sociological Association.
Anne Raulin, a Professor of Sociology at Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, trained at the New School for Social Research (New York). Her research has dealt with memory, history and rites in urban spaces, and minorities. She is a member of EA-SOPHIAPOL (Paris Ouest), an associate of the Laboratoire d’Anthropologie Urbaine (IIAC, CNRS/EHESS), and sits on the editorial boards of L’Homme, and Revue Européenne des Migrations Internationales.
Sébastien Chauvin is an Assistant Professor of Sociology University of Amsterdam. His research has dealt with employment, labor, migration, gender, and sexuality issues, mainly in France and the United States. In the past years he completed a collective study exploring the labor-market experience and following the union-supported mobilization of undocumented immigrant workers in France, together with Pierre Barron, Anne Bory, Nicolas Jounin and Lucie Tourette. With Nicolas Jounin, he has been carrying out comparative analysis on the implications of temporary staffing for migrant employment precarity in Paris and Chicago. With Blanca Garcés-Mascareñas (UPF-Barcelona) he has engaged in theoretical reflection on the moral economy of migrant illegality across several key countries. His main research focuses on the relationship between precarious work, the welfare state, and civic inequality in Europe.
Christian Topalov, a sociologist and historian, directeur d’études at the EHESS and directeur de recherche at the CNRS, works on the sociology of reform and science, especially on philanthropists and scientists in Paris and New York; the history of urban sociology in Paris and Chicago; and the vocabulary of urban life.
Bill Novak, the Charles F. and Edith J. Clyne Professor of Law, is an award-winning legal scholar and historian. He joined the Law School faculty in fall 2009 from the University of Chicago, where he had been an associate professor of history, a founding member of the university's Human Rights Program and Law, Letters, and Society Program, and director of its Center for Comparative Legal History. Since 2000, Prof. Novak has been a research professor at the American Bar Foundation. In 1996, he published The People's Welfare: Law and Regulation in Nineteenth-Century America, which won the American Historical Association's Littleton-Griswold Prize and was named Best Book in the History of Law and Society. A specialist on the legal, political, and intellectual history of the United States, Prof. Novak earned his PhD in the history of American civilization from Brandeis University in 1991. He was a visiting faculty member at Michigan Law during fall 2007, when he taught courses in U.S. legal history and legislation. Prof. Novak is currently at work on The People's Government: Law and the Creation of the Modern American State, a study of the transformation in American liberal governance around the turn of the twentieth century.
Nicolas Martin-Breteau has just completed a Ph.D thesis in U.S. history with François Weil, in which he explores the role of the human body in the political struggles of the African American communities of Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, through a social history of sport. He seeks to understand why, from the late 19th century and throughout the 20th century, the fight by black people for an end to racial oppression and for equal humanity had to be fought, to a significant extent, by means of perfectionist body practices. More broadly, he examines the body logic in the establishment of multiculturalism as a new “regime of truth” (Michel Foucault) on Western contemporary democracy. Nicolas Martin-Breteau specializes in the history and theory of the body and race, democracy and civil rights, identity and recognition, truth and multiculturalism.
Daniel Sabbagh, directeur de recherche, Sciences-Po. Former research assistant at Yale University (1996-1997); visiting fellow at the Remarque Institute, New York University; and visiting professor at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University in 2006. Co-editor-in-chief of Critique internationale (2003- 2006). Co-leader of the research group “Anti-discrimination policies” (with Gwénaële Calvès); co-president of the scientific committee of the Equal Opportunity program of the French-American Foundation.
Born in 1933, Jean Heffer has been emeritus since September 2002. He was directeur d'études at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales from 1985 to 2002, and director of the Centre d'études nord-américaines, after teaching history at the Sorbonne (1969-1984). He received his Docteur d'État degree in 1984 for his work on “the New York port and American commerce, 1860-1900,” and is a specialist of economic history and US history. Among his many works, he notably published Le port de New York et le commerce extérieur américain, 1860-1900 (1986) and United States and the Pacific: History of a Frontier (1995, translated 2002), for which he was awarded the Foreign Book Prize by the Organization of American Historians, 1997, and the Kiriyama Prize Notable Title in Nonfiction, 2002. Recent research dealt with rural history and land transfer in Lincoln County, Missouri, in the Civil War decade (1860-1870), as well as French whaling and its productivity in the nineteenth century. He currently works on a book on economic growth in the U.S. from 1774 to 1945.
Colleen Dunlavy is Professor of History and Political Science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Her interests center on the history of capitalism, at the crossroads of political economy and business, technology, labor and legal history, favoring a comparative approach which covers both the U.S. and Europe, especially Germany, in the 19th and 20th centuries. She received a B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley (1980), and a Ph. D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1988). Major publications include Politics and Industrialization: Early Railroads in the United States and Prussia (1994), which received the Thomas Newcomen Award, and “Social Conceptions of the Corporation: Insights from the History of Shareholder Voting Rights”, Washington and Lee Law Review (2006).
Alexia Blin is a graduate student at the Center for North American Studies. She has been working, since 2011, on a dissertation thesis on the cooperative movement in the Midwest between the 1870s and the 1930s, under the supervision of François Weil.
Pierre Gervais is Professor of North American Civilization at Univerity Paris 3 Sorbonne-Nouvelle in Paris, and a member of the research center CREW/CRAN (EA 4399). His research has focused on the transition between the 18th century market economy and the Industrial Revolution in North America and France. Professor Gervais is agrégé d'histoire, a graduate of École Normale Supérieure (1982), École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (1993), and Princeton University (1988). His most recent work is a collective publication, edited with Yannick Lemarchand and Dominique Margairaz : Merchants and Profit in the Age of Commerce (Pickering & Chatto, 2014). Pierre Gervais has also published in Annales Histoire Sciences Sociales (2012), French History (2011), History of European Ideas (2008), Common-Place (2010), and Oxford Bibliographies Online (2012). His first book, Les origines de la Révolution industrielle aux Etats-Unis (Paris: Ed. de l'Ehess, 2004), has been awarded the Willi Paul Adams Prize of the Organization of American Historians in 2006.
Alice Kessler-Harris is R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History and Professor at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender, both at Columbia University. Dr. Kessler-Harris specializes in the history of American labor and the comparative and interdisciplinary exploration of women and gender, and has published extensively on women's labor history. She received her B. A. from Goucher College (1961) and her Ph.D. from Rutgers (1968). Her published works include: In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in Twentieth Century America (2001), which received several awards, including the Bancroft Prize; Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States (1982); A Woman's Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences (1990); and Women Have Always Worked: A Historical Overview (1981). She is co-editor of Protecting Women: Labor Legislation in Europe, Australia, and the United States, 1880-1920 (1995) and U.S. History as Women's History (1995). Some of Kessler-Harris' essays in women's labor history are collected in Gendering Labor History (2007). Her most recent book is A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman (2012).
Denis Lacorne is a senior research fellow with the CERI (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches Internationales) at Sciences Po, Paris. He holds a degree from Sciences Po and a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. He has been a visiting professor at the University of California Irvine, New York University, and a visiting fellow at Stanford University, the University of California Berkeley, the Remarque Institute at New York University, and the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life at Columbia University. His research interests include the construction of national identities from a comparative perspective, American multiculturalism, religion and secularism from a comparative perspective, American elections, the foreign policy of the United States, Urban violence and ethnic identity in the United States.
Olivier Zunz is the Commonwealth Professor of history at the University of Virginia. After being trained as an historian in France, he has been teaching and researching in the U.S. for more than thirty years. He is a specialist of social American history of the twentieth century, and wrote several major books on various topics, from the industrialization of Detroit to the making of the American middle class. Most recently he published a study on the history of American philanthropy. He is also a renowned specialist of Alexis de Tocqueville and edited important parts of his writings. Olivier Zunz’s work has always been closely associated with the Center for North American Studies, to which he is an associated member. He has been a regular visiting professor at the EHESS for many years, and has presented his works in progress at the Center’s seminars.
Vincent Michelot is Professor of American Politics at Sciences Po Lyon (France). His teaching and research focus primarily on American institutions and elections. A frequent lecturer at the University of Virginia, he is the author of several essays on the US presidency and a series of articles on topics ranging from inter-branch dialogue to federalism and the financing of elections. He is currently working on a history of the right to vote.
Former director of the New York-based French Publishers’ Agency, founder and series editor of "Penser/Croiser" imprint at Les Prairies ordinaires, François Cusset is a specialist in intellectual history whose publications and current research focus on the history of critical theories and the contemporary evolution of human sciences within the English-speaking university system as well as on various cultural and intellectual transfers between France and the United States. He is also as translator, series editor, and a regular contributor to various media on both sides of the Atlantic.
Annick Lempérière is a professor at the University Paris I-Sorbonne, former director of Mondes Americains, and current director of the Centre de recherche et d'histoire de l'Amérique latine et des mondes ibériques (CRALMI). Her research first focused on Mexican intellectuals in the 20th century, before she moved to the study of the political history of Spanish America in an earlier period (18th-19th centuries), more especially the emergence of public spaces, the forms of government, and the conceptions of politics. Her present interest focuses on state-building in Latin America after independence. She is currently working, along with Gilles Bataillon, on a Dictionary of Latin America, as well as writing a Modern History of Latin America, both to be published.
Yann Philippe is Associate Professor of American History and Civilization at the University of Reims-Champagne Ardenne (URCA), France. He earned a PhD in history at the EHESS on the NYPD in the Progressive Era, focusing especially on how policing was negotiated between the institution and multiple actors (the mayor, the press, ordinary New-Yorkers…). He is currently involved in two major areas of inquiry: the construction of a « police state » in the US in the twentieth century at the intersection of the local, state and federal levels and with Pauline Peretz and Thomas Grillot, the relation between race and the development of veterans’ hospitals.
Aurélien Gillier is a PhD candidate and is currently working, under François Weil's supervision, on a dissertation on the 1967 Detroit riots. In a perspective of social and urban history, he studies the riots through a thick local history of the city, its ghettos and its inhabitants before, during and after the event. He replaces it into the longer processes off the civil rights and the Black Power movements, to uncover the full meaning of the riots, from their origins to their long-term consequences on political and social transformations and representations.
Nicolas Barreyre is maître de conférences at the EHESS and a member of the CENA. His work focuses on the political history of the United States in the nineteenth century, with an emphasis on political economy. His first work proposed a new interpretation of the post-Civil War Reconstruction by exploring the spatial dimensions of politics and decentering the story towards a truly national frame. He currently works on the U.S. State and the public debt.
Tangi Villerbu is maître de conférences at the University of La Rochelle, and holds a habilitation à diriger des recherches. His research focuses on the North-American West and its representations, French migrations in the nineteenth century, and the history of Catholics and Roman Catholicism in North America.
Renaud Le Goix
Renaud Le Goix is maître de conférences at the University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. His doctoral research (2003) on the privatization of residential estates and gated communities in the United States, and demonstrated the impact of residential enclaves on segregation patterns, through spatial analysis. His current research focuses on suburbanism in France and in the US, analyzing the contextual patterns of suburban built environment (subdivisions) in terms of property values, segregation patterns, and the relationships between the private residential governance and the local government bodies. He has expertise in urban geography, spatial analysis, modeling and mapping of social differentiation patterns, GIS.
Marie-Jeanne Rossignol is a professor of American Studies at University Paris Diderot. A specialist of the early American Republic, she has published the Nationalist Ferment. The Origins of American Foreign Policy 1789-1812 (Ohio University Press, 2003), a translation from her original Le ferment nationaliste (Belin, 1994). In recent years she has moved to the study of slavery and abolition in the first decades of the Republic, and translated and edited William Wells Brown’s slave narrative with Claire Parfait (Le Récit de William Wells Brown, Ecrit par lui-même, PURH, 2012). Her long-standing interest in an Atlantic approach of North American slavery and abolition comes across in Couleurs, esclavages, liberations colonials 1804-1860, which she has just co-edited with Claire Bourhis-Mariotti, Marcel Dorigny and Clément Thibaud (Les Perséides, 2013).
Manuel Covo received his PhD from the EHESS in 2013 and is currently a lecturer (ATER) in the History department at the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense. His work focuses on the political and economic entanglements of Atlantic revolutions at the end of the eighteenth century.
Romy Sánchez is a PhD candidate at University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (CRALMI - Mondes Américains) and a fellow at the Casa de Velázquez (EHEHI) in Madrid. Her work focuses on the political history of Cuba and the Caribbean in the 19th century. Her master's thesis analyzes Cuba's "non-independence" in the Age of Revolutions. Her dissertation examines 19th century Cuban political exiles and their transnational network as a site of inquiry for a new approach to looking at both Spanish colonialism and Cuban separatism.
Alexandre Dubé is Assistant Professor of Early Modern Atlantic History at Washington University in St. Louis. In 2011-2012, he was the Andrew H. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg, VA), and in 2010-2011, held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for North American Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. His research focuses on the political culture of the French Atlantic World, crystallizing around issues such as administration, corruption, patronage and political economy.
Jean-Frédéric Schaub is directeur d’études at the EHESS and a member of the CRBC (research center on Brazil). His research focuses on the processes leading to the transformation of political structures in the early modern Iberian world. He specializes in colonial and imperial history from a social and political perspective. He is currently an associate member of the Centro de história de aquém e além-mar at the Faculdade de Ciências Sociais e Humanas in Lisboa’s Universidade Nova, where he is co-directing two projects, “O bom governo das gentes” with João Fragoso (Universidade federal do Rio de Janeiro) and “Baia16-19” with Pedro Cardim (Universidade Nova, Lisboa) and Evergton de Souza Sales (Universidade federal da Bahia).
Annick Foucrier is professor of American history at the University of Paris 1-Panthéon Sorbonne. She holds a Ph.D. from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. Her dissertation focused on “France, the French, and California before the Gold Rush, 1786-1848.” She is the author of several books focusing on French immigration to the United States. She is at work on projects on international migrations, on French scientific missions in America and the Pacific world in the 19th century.
Daniel Carpenter is Allie S. Freed Professor of Government at Harvard University and Director of the Center for American Government in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University. His primary interest is in the theoretical, historical and quantitative analysis of American political development, public bureaucracies and government regulation, particularly regulation of health products. His dissertation received the 1998 Harold D. Lasswell Award from the American Political Science Association and as a book - The Forging of Bureaucratic Autonomy: Reputations, Networks and Policy Innovation in Executive Agencies, 1862-1928 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001) - was awarded the APSA’s Gladys Kammerer Prize as well as the Charles Levine Prize of the International Political Science Association. His newly published book on pharmaceutical regulation in the United States is entitled Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010).
Associate Professor of American History at the University of Lyon 2, Romain Huret has published many books on inequalities in the United States. He is the author of several books, most recently American Tax Resisters (Harvard University Press, 2014). He currently completes a book on the trial of Andrew W. Mellon to be published in 2015.
Andrew J. Diamond
Professor of American history and civilization at the University of Paris Sorbonne, Andrew Diamond holds a Ph. D from University of Michigan (2004). He is the author of several books, most recently Histoire de Chicago (Fayard, 2012) co-authored with Pap Ndiaye.
Thomas J. Sugrue
Thomas J. Sugrue is one of the most prominent historians of twentieth-century America. David Boies Professor of history and sociology at University of Pennsylvania, he is the author of many landmark books such as The Origins of the Urban Crisis in 1996 that earned him the Bancroft Prize in history in 1998. He currently works on a new book project focusing on real estate and the building of modern America.
Emmanuel Désveaux is directeur d’études at the EHESS and adjunct professor at Indiana University. After his first fieldwork experience, Professeur Désveaux tried to decipher the apparently undertermined social organization of the Northern Ojibways in light of their myths, reversing the usual perspective for anthropologists. He progressively extended his scope of analysis to all North-American Indians cultures, where he found that the logical transformations discovered by Lévi-Strauss in the Amerindian mythology applied also for artifacts, rituals, social organization, kinships terminologies, and more recently (with his colleage the linguist Michel de Fornel) to languages. In parallel, being involved in the process of designing and building the new museum du quai Branly in Paris (the new museum of ethnography with an emphasis on art), he is drawing on his experience to deepen his reflexion on the so-called primitive arts on one side, and on museology and curatorship on the other. He has recently published Avant le genre. Triptyque d'anthropologie hardcore at the Editions de l'EHESS in 2013.
Emmanuelle Perez is doing her PhD with François Weil on the politicization of Californios in the first 19th century. Using a transnational social history perspective, the study aims at understanding the various political processes at work in relation to Mexico (both before and after California's independence), and to the United States (both before and after annexation).
Gilles Havard is directeur de recherche at the CNRS and a member of the CENA. His work focuses on the history of Europeans-Indians relations in North America in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He has mainly published The Great Peace of Montreal of 1701 (Mc Gill Queens University Press, 2001), Empire et métissages. Indiens et Français dans le Pays d’en Haut, 1660-1715 (Septentrion/PUPS, 2003), and, with Cécile Vidal, Histoire de l’Amérique française (Flammarion, 2003). His next book is entitled Histoire des coureurs de bois.
Raymond J. DeMallie
Raymond J. DeMallie is Chancellors’ Professor of Anthropology and Director of the American Indian Studies Research Institute at Indiana University. He has done extensive linguistic fieldwork among the Sioux and Assiniboine peoples, collecting traditional myths, tales, and histories from speakers of those languages. In addition to his fieldwork on reservations in the Dakotas, Montana, and Saskatchewan, Professor DeMallie has carried out elaborate archival, library, and museum studies to discover, edit, and publish major sources on the Sioux and Assiniboine past. He has published and edited works on Sioux culture, religion and history, on ethnohistorical methods, on ethnographical histories, and on American Indian corpus study. Professor DeMallie’s work provides mutiple perspectives and methods for studying and understanding Native American life and history.
Richard White is a Pulitzer-Prize nominated historian specializing in the history of the American west, environmental history and Native American history. He is the Margaret Byrne Professor of American History at Stanford University, a faculty co-director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West and the former President of the Organization of American Historians. He received a MacArthur fellowship and was awarded a Mellon Distinguished Professor grant in 2007. His landmark book, The Middle Ground: Indians Empires and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, was a Pulitzer Prize nominated finalist. It also won the Francis Parkman Prize for the best book on American History, the Albert B. Corey Prize for U.S.-Canadian History, the James A. Rawley Prize for the history of race relations, and the Albert J. Beveridge Award for best English-language book on American History.
Nancy Cott is Jonathan Trumbull Professor of American History at Harvard University. Most of her work in 19th and 20th century U.S. history focuses on gender questions. Her interests also include social movements, political culture, law, and citizenship. She is the author of several books, most recently Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation (Harvard University Press, 2000). Her current project concerns Americans who came of age in the 1920s and shaped their lives internationally.