Views from the Margins


Views from the Margins

Creating Identities in Modern France

287 pages
4 maps

eBook (PDF)

(Requires Adobe Digital Editions)

January 2009


$35.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

What does it mean to be French? What constitutes “Frenchness”? Is it birth, language, attachment to republicanism, adherence to cultural norms? In contemporary France, these questions resonate in light of the large number of non-French and non-European immigrants, many from former French colonies, who have made France home in recent decades. Historically, French identity has long been understood as the product of a centralized state and culture emanating from Paris that was itself central to European history and civilization. Likewise, French identity in terms of class, gender, nationality, and religion mainly has been explained as a strong, indivisible core, against which marginal actors have been defined.

This collection of essays offers examples drawn from an imperial history of France that show the power of the periphery to shape diverse and dynamic modern French identities at its center. Each essay explains French identity as a fluid process rather than a category into which French citizens (and immigrants) are expected to fit. In using a core/periphery framework to explore identity creation, Views from the Margins breaks new ground in bringing together diverse historical topics from politics, religion, regionalism, consumerism, nationalism, and gendered aspects of civic and legal engagement.

Author Bio

Kevin J. Callahan is associate professor of history at Saint Joseph College. His articles have appeared in Peace and Change and International Review of Social History. Sarah A. Curtis is associate professor of history at San Francisco State University. She is the author of Educating the Faithful: Religion, Schooling and Society in Nineteenth-Century France.

Contributors: Kevin J. Callahan, Sarah A. Curtis, Anne Epstein, Rachel G. Fuchs, Samuel Huston Goodfellow, Stephen L. Harp, Sean M. Quinlan, Jeremy Rich, and Lee Whitfield.

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