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Chapter 2 lays out the book’s intellectual, theoretical and methodological foundations. It outlines in more detail the working definitions of contested concepts such as ‘right-wing populism’ and ‘religion’ used in this study and frames them within the existing academic literature. It briefly explains the book’s demand- and supply-side analytical framework, the sources this research is based on, the methods employed to analyse these sources, and the rationale of selecting Germany, France and the United States as the case studies for this book. Overall, Chapter 2 contains essential details about the mechanics underlying this research.
This chapter sets out the problem of disorder faced by Louis XIV and assesses the success and failure of his attempts to deal with it. The law, at least, was not the hammer of royal absolutism. The law continued to privilege reconciliation and arbitration over punishment. Under Louis XIV there were significant attempts to rationalise the system but negotiated justice prevailed until 1789. The high rates of violence that characterised France between 1560 and 1660 do not mean that France was a lawless society. The chapter argues that some of the problems that had beset France in the mid-seventeenth century reappeared around 1700. This was followed after 1725 by the remarkable efflorescence of French civil society. It concludes by suggesting that this social equilibrium was not overthrown by Revolution in 1789, but that the Ancien Régime system of social control was already under strain by the 1780s and that rocketing levels of interpersonal violence were indicative of the ways in which the political and constitutional crisis were impacting everyday social relations.
Communal politics is an important and still largely unexplored aspect of social and political relations under the Ancien Régime. This chapter attempts to get at the village view by means of a vendetta which has left a rich trail of archival sources. We get an invaluable and rare insight into non-elite politics before 1789 that goes beyond the standard historical conventions of peasant resistance and rebellion, shedding light on villagers’ motives, deliberations and divisions, as well as their capacity to organise, use the law and exploit the protection offered by local lords and officials. The story that emerges is not simply one of resistance to the royal fisc, centre against the periphery, or the people versus the nobility. Rather, the demands of the state after 1635 divided local society among itself and led to faction and violence within the corps politique. While in the short term these internal divisions posed a challenge to traditional local order, they paradoxically offered an opportunity for the state and its agents to intervene as arbiters, an opportunity that was realised by Louis XIV’s redeployment of the intendants after 1661.
The political violence that characterised mid-seventeenth-century Italy had subsided in the north by the 1690s, a process that can be traced in the falling homicide rate. But the return of large-scale warfare to the peninsula in the 1690s cautions against any simplistic claims regarding the disciplining of the aristocracy. However, in regions where the state’s legitimacy remained weak assassination survived. The mid-century convulsions that shook the Spanish Empire cast a long shadow. Historians have long dismissed ideas of Spanish ‘decline’. The notion of ‘decline’ is a moral category and the empire proved remarkably resilient in its Mediterranean heartland. Rather, the problem of violence in the Mezzogiorno was rooted in politics. The weak legitimacy of the state required the use of fear and violence, which in turn bred contempt for and distrust of the law. The decline of vendetta practices in northern Italy in the first half of the eighteenth century is well attested. It was a consequence of political and social processes which transformed the social elite and its relationship to authority in the decades around 1700. It was during the eighteenth century that a clear distinction between a pacified north and a south characterised by stubbornly high levels of interpersonal violence first became apparent. Vendetta became a regional problem.
In the early 1960s, Vietnamese resistance to US aggression galvanized a generation of activists, prompting the French in particular to forge an international antiwar alliance with their peers across Western Europe and North America, especially the United States. Together, they came to believe that the Vietnam War was caused by a broader “system” that made such wars possible in the first place. Searching for a way to not only explain this system, but overthrow it, they increasingly turned to Leninism. Radicals in the North Atlantic named the system imperialism, defined their internationalism as anti-imperialism, and called for a coordinated worldwide revolution based in the principle of the right of nations to self-determination. Following the lead of African American, Latin American, and Vietnamese revolutionaries, they argued that the best way to combat this imperialist system was to open new fronts inside the imperialist centers, triggering a wave of domestic upheaval that reached new heights in May 1968. But when this anti-imperialist front faced state repression and imprisonment in France, the United States, and South Vietnam, these same radicals began to advocate individual rights alongside anti-imperialist revolution in the early 1970s. In so doing, they lent legitimacy to a competing form of internationalism that shared the progressive aspirations of Leninist anti-imperialism but rejected nationalism in favor of human rights. When genocide, internecine war, and refugee crises in Southeast Asia eroded faith in national self-determination in the late 1970s, former French radicals sided with the US government in a global movement championing human rights against the sovereignty of states like Vietnam.
In 2016, France celebrated Shakespeare in the aftermath of devastating terrorist attacks which questioned the very notion of citizenship. In this context, the Institute for research on the Renaissance, the Neo-Classical Era and the Enlightenment (IRCL), together with the Printemps des comédiens, the second biggest theatre festival in France in terms of attendance and international visibility, launched an innovative and experimental educational project on Shakespeare and citizenship, involving five secondary schools with different social profiles in Montpellier. Throughout the year, six classes of students aged 14 to 15 worked on a Shakespeare play with their English, French and Civic Education teachers, researchers from the IRCL, actors and the staff of the festival, to put on their own school festival. Its preparation is as important as the result, since it allows the partners to address the three main values attached to the notion of citizenship: civility, civic rights and duties, and solidarity.
To meet these objectives, the IRCL, the festival and the schools progressively opened the collaborative project to other partners, and now have to find common ground between scientific, artistic, educational and socio-political logics. Shakespeare is the nexus between the various institutions working together on a project that reaches far beyond its initial educational purpose to confront and question methods, practices and policies, suggesting new, cross-bordering paths to explore collaboratively – all this in the jovial atmosphere of the Montpellier festival.
The sweeping changes of the early 1960s gave rise to a new cycle of struggle across the North Atlantic. It was in this context that the United States escalated its involvement in Vietnam. At the forefront of the antiwar struggle were radicals who advanced a systemic critique, arguing that ending the war meant transforming the system that had created it in the first place. Believing that the system exceeded the borders of the United States, these American radicals internationalized the struggle by reaching out to antiwar activists across the globe. Radicals in Western Europe proved especially responsive to the call, with the French in particular insisting on the strategic value of internationalist coordination in the North Atlantic. French activists took a lead in not only uniting activists across borders but creating a new sense of radical internationalism centered around Vietnam. For their part, Vietnamese revolutionaries played a central role in facilitating this new internationalism. By 1967, tens of thousands of activists across North America and Western Europe had come together in a new radical international.
This article clarifies a mythologized episode in the early development of the South China Sea disputes and shows how it was later ‘forgotten’ by British policymakers for strategic reasons. Using documents from the UK National Archives it confirms, for the first time, that Qing/Chinese officials did deny responsibility for the Paracel Islands in 1898/1899. It then shows how this correspondence was strategically ignored by British officials during the 1930s in the context of renewed disputes between China, France, and Japan over the sovereignty of the islands. It argues that during the 1930s, British officials sought to bolster the Chinese position in the South China Sea because of a concern that France would remain neutral in any forthcoming conflict. This resulted in Britain taking a view on the sovereignty disputes that was at odds with the evidence in its own archives but which provided useful political support for the Republic of China.
The introduction takes us to Paris in December 1947, where rumors of a communist uprising circulated amidst nationwide strikes fomented by the French Communist Party. President Harry Truman was deeply troubled by the unrest; journalists Joseph and Steward Alsop suggested it was because of the intelligence reports crossing his desk—"he was daily confronted with the facts.” This chapter explains the book’s focus on that intelligence and makes three interlocking arguments: that the intelligence on France was actually deeply contested by U.S. intelligence officers, that a vast web of informants in France and its empire influenced this intelligence to suit their interests, and finally, that the intelligence pointing to an imminent and existential communist threat was overblown, part of a campaign to encourage American intervention in French affairs, with implications for Franco-American relations for the rest of the century. This study seeks to internationalize intelligence and incorporate it into the study of U.S. foreign relations. In doing so, it deploys the diplomatic record alongside previously untapped intelligence reporting, thus illuminating new findings out of American and French archives. Likewise, it borrows key insights from recent interventions in U.S. foreign relations, namely the global, transimperial, and emotional turns in the field.
In Red Internationalism, Salar Mohandesi returns to the Vietnam War to offer a new interpretation of the transnational left's most transformative years. In the 1960s, radicals mobilized ideas from the early twentieth century to reinvent a critique of imperialism that promised not only to end the war but also to overthrow the global system that made such wars possible. Focusing on encounters between French, American, and Vietnamese radicals, Mohandesi explores how their struggles did change the world, but in unexpected ways that allowed human rights to increasingly displace anti-imperialism as the dominant idiom of internationalism. When anti-imperialism collapsed in the 1970s, human rights emerged as a hegemonic alternative channeling anti-imperialism's aspirations while rejecting systemic change. Approaching human rights as neither transhistorical truth nor cynical imperialist ruse but instead as a symptom of anti-imperialism's epochal crisis, Red Internationalism dramatizes a shift that continues to affect prospects for emancipatory political change in the future.
Contesting France reveals the untold role of intelligence in shaping American perceptions of and policy toward France between 1944 and 1947, a critical period of the early Cold War when many feared that French communists were poised to seize power. In doing so, it exposes the prevailing narrative of French unreliability, weakness, and communist intrigue apparent in diplomatic dispatches and intelligence reports sent to the White House as both overblown and deeply contested. Likewise, it shows that local political factions, French intelligence and government ofﬁcials, colonial ofﬁcers, and various trans-national actors in imperial outposts and in the metropole sought access to US intelligence ofﬁcials in a deliberate effort to shape US policy for their own political postwar agendas. Using extensive archival research in the United States and France, Susan McCall Perlman sheds new light on the nexus between intelligence and policymaking in the immediate postwar era.
The chapter examines the formatting of initial turns by customers at the counter, before they decide and in order to select what to buy. On the basis of recordings in bakeries in Finland, France, and Switzerland, it is shown how customers may face a range of practical problems in making decisions as to what or whether to purchase, including seeing items that might look appealing but which they don’t recognize or for which they do not know the ingredients. Through the design of their questions, drawing on verbal, material, and embodied resources, customers make publicly available to the sellers their epistemic access to the products (e.g., they do not know enough about the item to formulate its identity with anything more than a demonstrative pronoun or demonstrative determiner plus ‘empty’ noun). With their answers sellers provide information that may be immediately useful for the customer in making their decision, or which may need further elaboration. The referential practices employed by both customers and sellers reveal features of items that are locally relevant for the practical purposes of buying, in particular sequential, material, and embodied locations in interaction.
The chapter examines Churchill’s role on the international stage and his summit diplomacy with Roosevelt and Stalin. Faced with the surprise collapse of France in 1940, he was forced to seek new partners, assiduously courting the United States while seizing the opportunity of an alliance with the Soviet Union. The result was that he had to juggle the conflicting demands of Roosevelt and Stalin, embarking on strenuous personal diplomacy in the face of declining British influence. The chapter reviews the key decisions of the major meetings before looking at their postwar legacy in Churchill’s attempts to advance European reconciliation and his ultimately unsuccessful bid to resume summitry with the Soviet Union.
Churchill has become the archetypal embodiment of the modern war leader, in part as a result of his own writings, but this chapter strips away the layers of hindsight and looks in detail at the challenge he faced in 1940 and the actions he took in response. By making himself minister of defence, he united the civilian and military administrative machines and established a streamlined decision-making process at the heart of government. He led from the front, both through the projection of his image and through his distinctive oratory. His strategy was to weather the immediate crisis and then to find means of taking the fight to the enemy, even if it meant prioritising the Mediterranean over the Empire in Asia, while also courting the United States and seizing the opportunity of the Soviet alliance. The strain undoubtedly took a toll on his health and, as the war progressed, his room for manoeuvre became more limited and fractures began to emerge over the future, both within his government and in his relations with his key allies.
This article explores the environmental transformation of the moorland (landes) of southwestern France from a much maligned “wilderness” or “empty space” to a forested landscape coveted for its productive potential as well as its aesthetic beauty. This occurred in two stages from the eighteenth century to the present and was effected by the French state and local landowners. It bears resemblance to processes of environmental change in North America, Central Asia, and Africa, where states and colonial or imperial powers took measures to develop alleged empty spaces through seizure, development, and settlement. Drawing on paradigms of colonial rule and Henri Lefebvre’s theory regarding the production of space, the article examines the eradication of the “wilderness” of the region of the Landes, which led to the displacement of its pastoral populations and the end of their way of life. It explores the role of technology in consolidating the power of territorial states and empires and the significance of the parallels that can be drawn between the Landes and France’s overseas empire. Finally, it attests to the porosity of the boundary between man-made and natural landscapes, while illuminating the process by which the artificial forested landscape of the Landes ironically came to be redefined and revalorized as “natural” national heritage that was ripe for environmental protection by the second half of the twentieth century.
This chapter deals with the history of the French poetry of the First Wold War. Although, like in other belligerent countries, the production of war poetry was massive between 1914 and 1918, it remains hitherto neglected by literature scholars and historians. The genre suffered from its bad reputation. Apart from a few avant-gardists like Guillaume Apollinaire, the scholarly consensus outlined the French war poetry as a chauvinistic old-fashioned flood of words with no literary or even documentary relevance in contrast with the prose written by soldier-writers. This chapter does not try to rehabilitate the French war poetry but to sketch a typology of a significative cultural phenomenon. It shows the variety of the genre between patriotism, eulogy, irony and humour, testimony, protest, and formal research.
This chapter examines the market for poetry during the First World War, discussing the various outlets for verse and the factors that drove its publication and consumption. While previous studies of wartime publishing tend to focus on specific national contexts, this chapter surveys the international dimensions of the poetic marketplace, with a particular focus on the publishing of poetry in Britain, France, Germany and the USA. Drawing on a range of primary sources – including contemporary periodicals and publishing records – it reveals why poems were published in a range of books, magazines, and newspapers. In doing so, it demonstrates that the profusion of wartime poetry was not only a literary phenomenon, but also one that was shaped by commercial and political forces.
This chapter examines Roberto Bolaño’s relation to the Tel Quel group in Paris by offering a close reading of his short story “Labyrynth.” Though few Latin Americans participated in Tel Quel, Bolaño was fascinated by the group’s ability to create an influential literary movement. The chapter provides an overview of Tel Quel’s lack of interest in Latin American writers and explores Bolaño’s commentary on each of the members, including Philippe Sollers and Julia Kristeva. The chapter also discusses Bolaño’s fascination with other literary groups around the world, including Octavio Paz’s circle in Mexico City, which appears in a key scene in The Savage Detectives.
In The Seventh Member State, I show that imperial concerns were central to the original shape of the European Communities, in particular French anxieties about Algeria. The latter had been imagined by several generations of French as an extension of the metropole across the Mediterranean, while at the same time a majority of the population was not granted citizenship rights. While in 1951 France opted for the exclusion of Algeria from the territory of the Coal and Steel Community, in 1957 the strategy followed was the opposite, and Algeria was made part of the EEC, not least because this seemed to reinforce French claim that the territory was part of France and, perhaps above all, it rendered possible to obtain the financial support of the other five founding states for costly Algerian development projects. Labelling Algeria a seventh member state, as is done in the title of the book, calls the attention of the reader not only to the sweeping expanse of postwar European institutions, which lasted even after states such as Algeria gained independence, but also to the contestable and contested conception of Member State. Mainly intended as a piece in French history, the book illuminates the extent to which Europe was the main vehicle of the rescue of the imperial nation-state, and how white supremacy and colonial rule were maintained through a peculiar combination of the rule of law and states of emergency.
The history of European integration, even if yet a rather minor sub-field, has seen a good deal of developments in the last two decades. New scholars have joined the field and new topics of research have been considered. Megan Brown’s The Seventh Member State is an impressive contribution to the literature. The book does not only demonstrate that a main goal of the European Economic Community was to rescue the imperial nation-state, but illustrates the point by means of considering the complex relationship between France and Algeria, also marked by Algeria becoming part of the territory of the European Economic Community. As Brown shows, this had lasting effects, especially after Algeria’s independence. Doubts, however, can be raised regarding the extent to which the title of the book is not a trifle exaggerated. Not least because Algeria was never offered the status of member state, but remained subordinated to France. If its territory was part of the EEC, it was indeed as a result of the peculiar status assigned to Algeria under French law. In addition, it could be argued that the conclusions of the book would have been strengthened if a wider set of archives and literature would have been consulted (Dutch and German, and above all Algerian literature).