From Near and Far


From Near and Far

A Transnational History of France

Tyler Stovall

France Overseas: Studies in Empire and Decolonization Series

294 pages
9 photographs, 3 illustrations, index


December 2022


$30.00 Add to Cart

December 2022


$99.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
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December 2022


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eBook (EPUB)
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December 2022


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About the Book

From Near and Far relates the history of modern France from the French Revolution to the present. Noted historian Tyler Stovall considers how the history of France interacts with both the broader history of the world and the local histories of French communities, examining the impacts of Karl Marx, Ho Chi Minh, Paul Gauguin, and Josephine Baker alongside the rise of haute couture and the contemporary role of hip hop.

From Near and Far focuses on the interactions between France and three other parts of the world: Europe, the United States, and the French colonial empire. Taking this transnational approach to the history of modern France, Stovall shows how the theme of universalism, so central to modern French culture, has manifested itself in different ways over the last few centuries. Moreover, it emphasizes the importance of narrative to French history, that historians tell the story of a nation and a people by bringing together a multitude of stories and tales that often go well beyond its boundaries. In telling these stories From Near and Far gives the reader a vision of France both global and local at the same time.

Author Bio

Tyler Stovall (1954–2021) was the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Fordham University. He was the author or editor of a number of books, including White Freedom: The Racial History of an Idea and coeditor of The Black Populations of France: Histories from Metropole to Colony (Nebraska, 2022).


"Stovall's interpretive framework is novel and makes a worthwhile contribution to the field. Written in clear, lively, and almost conversational prose, this study is accessible to a wide audience."—D. A. Harvey, Choice

“A pathbreaking and ambitious reconceptualization of modern French history in a revealing global framing. This is achieved by defamiliarizing and refamiliarizing significant episodes and figures, knitting the history of the French hexagon together with that of the French empire and the world beyond. From Near and Far is written in crisp, compelling prose, and the brisk pacing carries the reader along effortlessly. The author has a keen eye for paradox, making it a pleasure to read.”—Laura Tabili, author of Global Migrants, Local Culture: Natives and Newcomers in Provincial England, 1841–1939

“Stovall’s focus on the international and transnational dimensions of modern French history is a welcome addition to recent scholarship placing France in a broader global context. Engaging and accessible, hallmarks of Stovall’s work, From Near and Far is a delight to read and will find an enthusiastic audience among students, instructors, and the public at large. The case studies are carefully chosen for their utility to the central argument in the book, and the range of topics they represent makes for a very intriguing set of essays.”—M. Kathryn Edwards, author of Contesting Indochina: French Remembrance between Decolonization and Cold War

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations

Preface and Acknowledgments

Introduction: France in the World, the World in France

Part 1. The World of the French Revolution

1. Strangers in a Strange Land: The Saga of the French Five Hundred

2. World Revolutionary in a Universal Nation: Karl Marx in Paris

3. The Other Second Empire: France’s Intervention in Mexico

Part 2. The Rise of the Imperial Republic

4. Capital of Fashion: Paris and the Rise of Haute Couture

5. Universalism from the Margins: The Alliance Israélite Universelle

6. Painter of Empire: The Life of Paul Gauguin

Part 3. Transnational France in the Era of the World Wars

7. Lafayette, We Are Here!: France and the Americans during the Great War

8. Colonial and Global Revolutionary: The Apprenticeship of Ho Chi Minh

9. Foreigners for France: The Manouchian Group and the French Resistance

Part 4. Rebirth of the Universal Nation

10. Universal Family: Josephine Baker and the Rainbow Tribe

11. Transnational France on Vacation: A History of Club Med

12. Postcolonial Soundtrack: Hip-Hop Music and Culture in Contemporary France

Conclusion: A Nation of Stories Large and Small





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