H-France Salon

Chief Editor
Patrick Bray, University College London (p.bray@ucl.ac.uk)

Associate Editors
Jennifer Heuer, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Lia Brozgal, University of California, Los Angeles

Originating in 2009, H-France Salon is a multimedia journal of French Studies in its broadest sense, encompassing history, literature, cinema, art history, theory, and culture. Salons have included debates and collective reassessments of critical, methodological, and professional issues in our fields, tributes to influential individuals, recordings of conference presentations, webinars, and innovative blog projects.  We welcome proposals that build on these initiatives or take us in new directions. Please contact us with ideas. (bray.49@osu.edu)

Volume 11, Issues 16-21
“What the Revolution Means Today”
(Issues 16-18 available; Issues 19-21 coming soon)

I am delighted to introduce a series of exchanges around what the French Revolution means today. This series, spearheaded by Marisa Linton, commemorates the 230th anniversary of the Revolution, but also intends to inspire reflection on what the Revolution may continue to mean for us as scholars, teachers, and citizens.

Five of these interwoven strands follow (released as individual issues), each with contributions from four or five scholars. The first, “Rethinking the French Revolutionary Terror,” edited by Marisa Linton, challenges some of our pervasive assumptions as scholars and teachers of the Revolution. Contributors to this strand question whether it is useful to talk about the Terror as a coherent and capitalized event, and consider what violence and trauma meant at other moments of the Revolution.

In “The Revolution Abroad,” edited by Annie Jourdan, several scholars reflect on their own experiences researching and teaching the Revolution from outside France, including from the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy. They also consider how different national agendas and institutional contexts have shaped how—and how much—the French Revolution is regarded today.

Revisiting French Revolutionary Culture,” edited by Sophie Matthiesson, turns our attention to material culture and consumption. Contributors ask us to think not only about the importance of objects and archives, but also to reflect on how choices made by collectors and curators have influenced the basis of what we know about, and how we understand, the Revolution

A fourth strand, “Whose Rights? The French Revolution and the Present,” edited by Ian Coller, addresses what it means to engage with the history of the Revolution in our contemporary political and cultural world, from wrestling with questions of global history and activism in the classroom to the resonances of the MeToo movement and the rights of “living beings” writ large.

The last strand, “The French Revolution Beyond the Academy.” edited by Guillaume Mazeau, looks more closely at the continued powerful—if also sometimes problematic—presence of the Revolution in a myriad of contexts, from classroom games to political interventions to contemporary film.

We conclude with a videoed exchange between Lynn Hunt and Peter McPhee reflecting on the ideas and questions raised in these various strands

Overall, this series of salons was intended to include as diverse a range of voices as possible. We sought to bring together both relatively new scholars and well established people, Francophone and Anglophone scholars, and those from various parts of the world (including France, the United States, the UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, and Italy.) There are many other people whose voices could—and should—have been part of this ; we very much hope that this will spark continued conversations and exchanges!

Jennifer Heuer
University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Browse salons chronologically:

Volume 11 (2019)
Volume 10 (2018)
Volume 9 (2017)
Volume 8 (2016)
Volume 7 (2015)
Volume 6 (2014)
Volume 5 (2013)
Volume 4 (2012)
Volumes 1-3 (2009-2011)

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A collection of similar papers, discussions, etc. published on H-France as “Occasional Papers” are available here.