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French Colonial Histories From Below

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Jennifer Sessions, Claire Eldridge, ‘French Colonial Histories From Below’, in French History, Vol. 32, N°4, 2019, pp. 463–470

Extract

In exploring ‘French colonial histories from below’, this special issue draws together the overlapping concerns of colonial historians and practitioners of history from below with the experiences, perspectives, and historical agency of groups subordinated by the dominant structures of capitalism and empire. ‘History from below’ has, of course, a distinguished tradition among historians of metropolitan France. Whether inspired by the British Marxists or the French Annales school, the desire to salvage the histories of the anonymous, often illiterate masses of French peasants, workers and menu peuple has given rise, since the late 1970s, to a rich and varied body of work that encompasses quantitative analyses of popular politics, reconstructions of working-class and peasant mentalités and microhistorical accounts of particular people or places.1 French historians interested in everything from daily life in a medieval Pyrénéen village to the crowd in the French Revolution have long embraced what Lucien Febvre (one of several scholars credited with coining the term) described in 1932 as ‘history viewed from below and not from on high’.

More information (publisher's website)

The Margueritte Affaire: Colonialism in Trial in Fin-de-Siècle Algeria and France
01 October 2015 - 30 June 2016
520
Jennifer Sessions
21356
2018
History
Contemporary period (1789-…)
Western Europe
Jennifer Sessions, Claire Eldridge