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Happy Bastille Day

paris-1293750_1920Celebrated on July, 14, Bastille Day is the French national day and one of the most important bank holidays in France. The day commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille on the 14th July 1789, a medieval fortress and prison which was a symbol of tyrannical Bourbon authority and had held many political dissidents, and symbolizes the end of absolute monarchy and the birth of sovereign Nation.

The following year, the Fête de la Fédération was held in Paris and across the nation by a populace that largely believed the French Revolution was over. As it turned out, they were mistaken and by 1791 there was little in the way of national unity to celebrate. The holiday wasn’t picked up again until 1878 when it was a one-time official feast to honor the French Republic, which was followed by an unofficial, popular celebration of the day in 1879, which in turn led to a call to make it an official holiday in 1880 complete with a military parade which has been an annual fixture ever since.


Berghahn is delighted to suggest a selection of French Studies titles to browse through:

 

Berghahn Monographs in French Studies Series

France has played a central role in the emergence of the modern world. The Great French Revolution of 1789 contributed decisively to political modernity, and the Paris of Baudelaire did the same for culture. Because of its rich intellectual and cultural traditions, republican democracy, imperial past and post-colonial present, twentieth-century experience of decline and renewal, and unique role in world affairs, France and its history remain important today. This series publishes monographs that offer significant methodological and empirical contributions to our understanding of the French experience and its broader role in the making of the modern world.

 

Volume 5

THE BOURGEOIS REVOLUTION IN FRANCE (1789-1815)
Henry Heller

 

In the last generation the classic Marxist interpretation of the French Revolution has been challenged by the so-called revisionist school. The Marxist view that the Revolution was a bourgeois and capitalist revolution has been questioned by Anglo-Saxon revisionists like Alfred Cobban and William Doyle as well as a French school of criticism headed by François Furet. Today revisionism is the dominant interpretation of the Revolution both in the academic world and among the educated public.

Against this conception, this book reasserts the view that the Revolution – the capital event of the modern age – was indeed a capitalist and bourgeois revolution. Based on an analysis of the latest historical scholarship as well as on knowledge of Marxist theories of the transition from feudalism to capitalism, the work confutes the main arguments and contentions of the revisionist school while laying out a narrative of the causes and unfolding of the Revolution from the eighteenth century to the Napoleonic Age.

 

Volume 7 Paperback

FRANCE AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF EUROPE, 1944-2007
The Geopolitical Imperative
Michael Sutton

 

“Combining a rich array of secondary sources with a solid assortment of published primary sources such as memoirs and official papers, Sutton presents a highly detailed, interpretive account that represents a valuable contribution to our understanding of contemporary European history.” · The Historian

In the second half of the twentieth century France played the greatest role – even greater than Germany’s – in shaping what eventually became the European Union. By the early twenty-first century, however, in a hugely transformed Europe, this era had patently come to an end. This comprehensive history shows how France coupled the pursuit of power and the furtherance of European integration over a sixty-year period, from the close of the Second World War to the hesitation caused by the French electorate’s referendum rejection of the European Union’s constitutional treaty in 2005.

 

Volume 11 Paperback

FRANCE IN THE AGE OF ORGANIZATION
Factory, Home and Nation from the 1920s to Vichy
Jackie Clarke

 

In interwar France, there was a growing sense that ‘organization’ was the solution to the nation’s perceived social, economic and political ills. This book examines the roots of this idea in the industrial rationalization movement and its manifestations in areas as diverse as domestic organization and economic planning. In doing so, it shows how experts in fields ranging from engineering to the biological sciences shaped visions of a rational socio-economic order from the 1920s to Vichy and beyond.

Read Introduction

 

Volume 12 Paperback

BUILDING A EUROPEAN IDENTITY
France, the United States, and the Oil Shock, 1973-74
Aurélie Élisa Gfeller

 

“…this is a valuable addition to the existing literature on the impact of the October 1973 energy crisis on French national policy, the evolution of the European Community, and the nature of the transatlantic relationship.” · American Historical Review

The Arab-Israeli war of 1973, the first oil price shock, and France’s transition from Gaullist to centrist rule in 1974 coincided with the United States’ attempt to redefine transatlantic relations. As the author argues, this was an important moment in which the French political elite responded with an unprecedented effort to construct an internationally influential and internally cohesive European entity. Based on extensive multi-archival research, this study combines analysis of French policy making with an inquiry into the evolution of political language, highlighting the significance of the new concept of a political European identity.

 

Volume 13 Paperback

GENERAL DE GAULLE’S COLD WAR
Challenging American Hegemony, 1963-68
Garret Joseph Martin

 

“While there is a lot of information for readers to take in, the subject is inherently complex, spanning different aspects of French foreign policy and the politics of other countries and institutions. In spite of this complexity, Martin displays a good grasp of the material.” · H-France Review

Based on extensive international research, this book is an original analysis of France’s ambitious grand strategy during the 1960s and why it eventually failed. De Gaulle’s failed attempt to overcome the Cold War order reveals important insights about why the bipolar international system was able to survive for so long, and why the General’s legacy remains significant to current French foreign policy.

 

Volume 13

AT HOME IN POSTWAR FRANCE
Modern Mass Housing and the Right to Comfort
Nicole C. Rudolph

 

After World War II, France embarked on a project of modernization, which included the development of the modern mass home. At Home in Postwar France examines key groups of actors — state officials, architects, sociologists and tastemakers — arguing that modernizers looked to the home as a site for social engineering and nation-building; designers and advocates of the modern home contributed to the democratization of French society; and the French home of the Trente Glorieuses, as it was built and inhabited, was a hybrid product of architects’, planners’, and residents’ understandings of modernity. This volume identifies the “right to comfort” as an invention of the postwar period and suggests that the modern mass home played a vital role in shaping new expectations for well-being and happiness.

Read Introduction

For a full list of titles in the series please visit the webpage.


FRENCH FOREIGN POLICY SINCE 1945
An Introduction
Frédéric Bozo
Translated by Jonathan Hensher

 

“Bozo commands the details of his country’s foreign policy, and he never gets lost in them. French foreign policy, in his view, changes far less than the grand rhetorical declarations of successive presidents might lead one to expect.” · Foreign Affairs

When Charles de Gaulle declared that “it is because we are no longer a great power that we need a grand policy,” he neatly summarized France’s predicament on the world scene. In this compact and engaging history, author Frédéric Bozo deftly recounts France’s efforts to reconcile its proud history and global ambitions with a realistic appraisal of its capabilities, from the aftermath of World War II to the present. He provides insightful analysis of the nation’s triumphs and setbacks through the years of decolonization, Cold War maneuvering, and European unification, as well as the more contemporary challenges posed by an increasingly multipolar and interconnected world.

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FRANCE AFTER 2012
Edited by Gabriel Goodliffe and Riccardo Brizzi

 

“…a work of seminal scholarship and very highly recommended for academic library International Studies collections in general, and 21st Century French Political History supplemental reading lists in particular.” · MBR Bookwatch

In May 2012, French voters rejected the liberalizing policies of Nicolas Sarkozy and elected his opponent, the Socialist François Hollande, president. In June 2012, the incumbent president’s center-right UMP party was swept out of government in the ensuing parliamentary elections, giving way to a new center-left majority in the National Assembly. This book analyzes the contexts and results of the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections in France. It assesses the legacies of the Sarkozy presidency that informed the 2012 electoral campaigns, scrutinizing his domestic social and economic policies on the one hand and European and foreign policies on the other. In turn, the elections’ outcomes are also analyzed from the standpoint of various political parties and other institutional interests in France, and the results are situated within the broader run of French political history. Finally, the book examines the principal challenges facing the Hollande administration and new government of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, and assesses how effectively these have been met during their first year in office.

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THE EVENT OF CHARLIE HEBDO
Imaginaries of Freedom and Control
Edited by Alessandro Zagato
Afterword by Bruce Kapferer

Volume 15, Critical Interventions: A Forum for Social Analysis

 

The January 2015 shooting at the headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the subsequent attacks that took place in the Île-de-France region were staggeringly violent events. They sparked an enormous discussion among citizens and intellectuals from around Europe and beyond. By analyzing the effects the attacks have had in various spheres of social life, including the political, ideology, collective imaginaries, the media, and education, this collection of essays aims to serve as a contribution as well as a critical response to that discussion. The volume observes that the events being attributed to Charlie Hebdo go beyond sensationalist reports of the mainstream media, transcend the spatial confines of nation states, and lend themselves to an ever-expanding number of mutating discursive formations.

Read Introduction: The Event of Charlie Hebdo – Imaginaries of Freedom and Control

 

THE FRANCE OF THE LITTLE-MIDDLES
A Suburban Housing Development in Greater Paris
Marie Cartier, Isabelle Coutant, Olivier Masclet, and Yasmine Siblot
Translated by Juliette Rogers

NEW SERIES: Volume 1, Anthropology of Europe

 

“This splendid and nuanced volume provides long-needed corrections to images from literature, cinema, news, and social science that have reduced Parisian suburbs to a dystopian vision of crime-ridden towers and despairing immigrants… Given the rich, careful data, the complex analyses, and the sensitive evocations of families divided by place, decisions, and success, this book should stimulate vastly enriched, comparative examinations of metropolitan Paris in its global context. It is also a provocative read about class, place, education, aspiration, and anxiety for social scientists and citizens worldwide …Essential.” · Choice

The Poplars housing development in suburban Paris is home to what one resident called the “Little-Middles” – a social group on the tenuous border between the working- and middle- classes. In the 1960s The Poplars was a site of upward social mobility, which fostered an egalitarian sense of community among residents. This feeling of collective flourishing was challenged when some residents moved away, selling their homes to a new generation of upwardly mobile neighbors from predominantly immigrant backgrounds. This volume explores the strained reception of these migrants, arguing that this is less a product of racism and xenophobia than of anxiety about social class and the loss of a sense of community that reigned before.

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NATIONALISM AND THE CINEMA IN FRANCE
Political Mythologies and Film Events, 1945-1995
Hugo Frey

 

It is often taken for granted that French cinema is intimately connected to the nation’s sense of identity and self-confidence. But what do we really know about that relationship? What are the nuances, insider codes, and hidden history of the alignment between cinema and nationalism? Hugo Frey suggests that the concepts of the ‘political myth’ and ‘the film event’ are the essential theoretical reference points for unlocking film history. Nationalism and the Cinema in France offers new arguments regarding those connections in the French case, examining national elitism, neo-colonialism, and other exclusionary discourses, as well as discussing for the first time the subculture of cinema around the extreme right Front National. Key works from directors such as Michel Audiard, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Melville, Marcel Pagnol, Jean Renoir, Jacques Tati, François Truffaut, and others provide a rich body of evidence.

 

THE BRESSONIANS
French Cinema and the Culture of Authorship
Codruţa Morari

 

How should we understand film authorship in an era when the idea of the solitary and sovereign auteur has come under attack, with critics proclaiming the death of the author and the end of cinema? The Bressonians provides an answer in the form of a strikingly original study of Bresson and his influence on the work of filmmakers Jean Eustache and Maurice Pialat. Extending the discourse of authorship beyond the idea of a singular visionary, it explores how the imperatives of excellence function within cinema’s pluralistic community. Bresson’s example offered both an artistic legacy and a creative burden within which filmmakers reckoned in different, often arduous, and altogether compelling ways.

 

THE FRENCH RIGHT BETWEEN THE WARS
Political and Intellectual Movements from Conservatism to Fascism
Edited by Samuel Kalman and Sean Kennedy

 

“Organized thematically into three sections and concluding with William Irvine’s astute historiographical commentary, this edited volume unhinges analyses of the French political and intellectual Right from long-standing debates over whether France was “immune” tof ascism, and how to categorize its Rightist leagues… Highly recommended.” · Choice

During the interwar years France experienced severe political polarization. At the time many observers, particularly on the left, feared that the French right had embraced fascism, generating a fierce debate that has engaged scholars for decades, but has also obscured critical changes in French society and culture during the 1920s and 1930s. This collection of essays shifts the focus away from long-standing controversies in order to examine various elements of the French right, from writers to politicians, social workers to street fighters, in their broader social, cultural, and political contexts. It offers a wide-ranging reassessment of the structures, mentalities, and significance of various conservative and extremist organizations, deepening our understanding of French and European history in a troubled yet fascinating era.


From Berghahn Journals

 

French Politics, Culture & Society

French Politics, Culture & Society explores modern and contemporary France from the perspectives of the social sciences, history, and cultural analysis. It also examines France’s relationship to the larger world, especially Europe, the United States, and the former French Empire. The editors also welcome pieces on recent debates and events, as well as articles that explore the connections between French society and cultural expression of all sorts (such as art, film, literature, and popular culture).

 

Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques

Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques (HRRH) has established a well-deserved reputation for publishing high quality articles of wide-ranging interest for over forty years. The journal, which publishes articles in both English and French, is committed to exploring history in an interdisciplinary framework and with a comparative focus. Historical approaches to art, literature, and the social sciences; the history of mentalities and intellectual movements; the terrain where religion and history meet: these are the subjects to which Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques is devoted.