ANNOUNCEMENTS


Call for Papers from French Historical Studies:
Writing letters / Ecrire à l’autre: The intimate in the global, from letters to snapchat / L’intime à l’heure du global, du papier à l’écran

May 31, 2018


The editors of French Historical Studies seek articles for a special issue on letters and correspondence in the francophone world to appear in 2021.

Personal and intimate writings (sometimes called “ego documents”) have long stood in the shadow of more “official” historical sources. Traditionally, historians have used letters for biographical purposes and only rarely based social and political histories primarily on epistolary exchanges. Yet recent works in the history of intimacy have not only revealed the richness of writing intimate histories; they have also shown how connected our sense of self and our emotional lives are to wider historical dynamics. 

This special issue of French Historical Studies proposes to take stock and press on with this historiographical renewal. If letters mark the intersection of the personal and the social, of public and private, what does it mean to write to and be read by someone else? What are the social and cultural conditions of this form of writing to “an other”? When and where can one speak of shared “epistolary cultures”?

We seek a wide range of approaches to the topic, to reflect the variety of recent scholarship. Our starting point is the letter as a “private” object, but one that is neither circumscribed to the private sphere nor limited to a specific material form (paper). Rather, we take it to mean (with Cécile Dauphin) an act of written communication to someone who isn’t there.

We encourage submissions to pay attention to the materiality of writing, to changing media and conditions of circulation. Today we write to people more than ever before, whether by email, text messages, or social media. We spell out “phone” conversations and send 16 million text messages every minute around the world, creating new forms of language and new ways of relating to one another. How do technological innovations change patterns of circulation? What role do distance and absence play at different moments in time? When do we prefer to write rather than talk?

All periods, from medieval to contemporary, are welcome. Transnational perspectives that grapple with the role of the intimate within global and connected histories are particularly encouraged.

Queries about submission and other matters should be addressed to the guest editors: Thomas Dodman (td2551@columbia.edu), Caroline Muller (ccarolinemuller@gmail.com) and Anne Verjus (anne.verjus@ens-lyon.fr).

To submit an article, visit https://www.editorialmanager.com/fhs/default.aspx. After registering, follow the submission instructions under “Instructions for Authors” on the website.  Articles may be in either English or in French but must in either case conform to French Historical Studies style and must be accompanied by 150-word abstracts in both French and English.  Manuscripts should be between 6,000 and 10,000 words. For any illustrations authors must obtain written permission for both print and online publication from the relevant persons or institutions.  

The deadline for submissions is August 19, 2019.            


Les éditrices de French Historical Studies lancent un appel à articles pour un numéro spécial de la revue sur l'usage des lettres et correspondances en histoire (de la France), à paraître en 2021.

Les écrits personnels et privés sont longtemps restés dans l’ombre de documents jugés plus légitimes pour écrire l’histoire. Ainsi, la lettre a-t-elle surtout servi à documenter l’histoire biographique de personnages historiques, et rares sont les ouvrages d’histoire sociale ou politique qui s’appuient principalement sur ce matériau. Pourtant, des travaux récents ont montré qu’une histoire de l’intime, voire par l’intime, était possible, dépassant le récit des trajectoires individuelles pour aborder la formation du moi et le rôle des sensibilités dans des dynamiques historiques beaucoup plus vastes. 

Dans ce contexte de renouvellement des usages historiens de la correspondance, ce numéro spécial de French Historical Studies voudrait contribuer à la réflexion. Ainsi, à la “croisée de l’individuel et du social” (Bossis, 1994), du secret et du public, que révèle ce geste d’écrire pour être lu.e par autrui ? Quelles sont les conditions sociales, culturelles, de cette “écriture à l’autre” ? Peut-on parler de cultures épistolaires ?

Les propositions devront prêter attention à la matérialité de l’écriture, à l’importance de son support et à ses conditions de circulation. L’écrit à l’autre atteint, aujourd’hui, une ampleur sans précédent : que ce soit par les mails, les sms ou les réseaux sociaux, on s’écrit plus que jamais. La conversation “téléphonique” s’écrit plus qu’elle ne se parle, désormais. La lettre voyage, le sms surgit : l’écriture à l’autre en est-elle changée ? Quels rôles jouent l’absence et la distance géographique ? Comment ces espaces de circulation se trouvent-ils modifiés par les transformations techniques ? Dans quel cas préfère-t-on s’écrire alors qu’on pourrait se parler ? 

Notre conception des approches possibles de ce sujet est large. Nous souhaitons que ce numéro de FHS reflète la variété des usages historiographiques de cette “écriture à l’autre”, dans la multiplicité de ses acceptions. Nous partons d’une définition de la lettre comme objet “privé”, qui ne se réduit pas à l’écriture du privé, et dont la matérialité ne se limite pas au papier, en reprenant la définition qu’en a donnée Cécile Dauphin, en 2002 : un acte qui consiste à communiquer par écrit et dans l’absence de l’autre.

Toutes les périodes de l’histoire entrent dans notre champ d’investigation, de l’époque médiévale à nos jours. Les perspectives transnationales, qui s’intéressent à la place de l’intime dans le global, et au sein d’une histoire connectée, sont particulièrement encouragées.

Les propositions d’articles, ainsi que toutes vos questions, sont à adresser à nos éditeur et éditrices invité.e.s : Thomas Dodman (td2551@columbia.edu), Caroline Muller (ccarolinemuller@gmail.com) et Anne Verjus (anne.verjus@ens-lyon.fr).

Pour soumettre un article, veuillez consulter https://www.editorialmanager.com/fhs/default.aspx.  Après vous être enregistré.e.s, suivez les instructions de la section « Instructions for Authors ». Les articles peuvent être soumis en anglais ou en français, mais, dans les deux cas, ils doivent être conformes au style de le revue French Historical Studies, et doivent être accompagnés d’un résumé de 150 mots rédigé à la fois en français et en anglais. Les manuscrits doivent comporter entre 6 000 et 10 000 mots (notes non comprises). Concernant les illustrations, les autrices et les auteurs doivent obtenir la permission écrite de les publier sous forme papier et digitale de la part des personnes dépositaires des droits sur ces images, ou de la part des responsables des institutions d’où les images sont originaires. 

La date limite pour soumettre les articles est fixée au 19 août 2019.


Statement on Proposed Reforms to French Archival Conservation Policies

November 23, 2017

As historians of France and the Francophone world, we join our French colleagues in expressing alarm at the proposal, revealed in Le Monde on 14 November 2017, to revise the policies governing the conservation of French government archives. We are especially concerned by the concept of “archives essentielles,” advanced as the criterion for eliminating present and future archival holdings, and by the idea that digitization be substituted for the conservation of physical documents. We recognize that there are practical considerations of space and cost that go into any conservation decisions. Not everything can be preserved. But as researchers who make extensive use of the national and departmental archives overseen by the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, we are puzzled by the sudden shortage of space so soon after the opening of the new Archives nationales site at Pierrefitte, designed specifically to expand the storage capacity of the Archives nationales now and in the future. Digitization is not a magic bullet solution to problems of space and cost, either. Initial processing and electronic storage entail considerable expense, and technological obsolescence makes digitized materials highly vulnerable to degradation and rapid inaccessibility. These risks make digitization an unacceptable alternative to physical preservation.

As representatives of the international scholarly community of historians of France, we see a real danger that undermining the guiding archival fundamental principles of transparency and accessibility will marginalize the practice of French history and endanger its leading position within the discipline of history worldwide. Because we agree that archives and the access they provide to the past are “essentielles pour les générations futures” of both the French Republic and the international research community, we urge the Ministry of Culture to consult fully with citizens, archivists, and historians before taking any steps that might result in the destruction or elimination of irreplaceable archival materials. 

 Signed,

Executive Committee, French Colonial Historical Society
Executive Committee, Society for French Historical Studies
Governing Council, Western Society for French History
Editorial board, H-France
Trustees, Society for the Study of French History
Executive Committee, George Rudé Society
Executive Committee, Australian Society for French Studies


Announcing A New Officer of the Organization:
Secretary/Web Coordinator

19 June 2017

The Society for French Historical Studies created a new officer of the organization, the position of Secretary/Web Coordinator.  The Secretary/Web Coordinator serves a three-year renewable term and sit on the SFHS Executive Committee.  The primary responsibility of this officer is to take charge of the Society’s social media, including the official webpage, Facebook page, and Twitter account.  In addition, he or she takes minutes at the Executive Council’s meeting during the annual conferences.  Following retirement from the position, this officer remains a member of the Council for two years.


A New Chapter in Society History:
The Institut Français d’Amérique Becomes Part of the SFHS

27 March 2017

The Society for French Historical Studies is pleased to announce the signing of an agreement that will, in effect, fold the venerable Institut Français d’Amérique into the SFHS.  Founded in December 1926 as the Institut Français de Washington, under the leadership of Thomas H. Healy, Louis T. Rouleau, and James Brown Scott, who became its first president, the IFA was dedicated to promoting the study of French civilization, history, literature, and art in the United States, and preserving the history of French missionaries, educators, explorers, settlers, scholars, and artists in North America.  The Institut established several awards to encourage the work of scholars in these areas: the Gilbert Chinard Historical Prize, awarded annually to the best American book on the history of French-American relations (on the recommendation of a committee charged by the SFHS); the Harmon Chadbourn Rorison Prize, the Edouard Morot-Sir Fellowship in French Literature; and the Gilbert Chinard research fellowships, awarded annually to doctoral candidates and untenured junior professors who need funds to underwrite research in France on French culture and history.  In pursuit of these goals, the IFW (now the IFA) has benefited from many donations and gifts.  A bequest of $50,000 from the Chicago industrialist Henry C. Morris in 1972 was of particular importance to the continuation of the Institute’s endeavors.

The agreement signed with the Society for French Historical Studies will allow the IFA to continue its good work under the auspices of the SFHS.  The essence of this new relationship will see the monies of the Institute transferred to a fund under the control of the Society, and to which the Society will add further monies.  The IFA fund thereby constituted will be disbursed for two purposes.  First, it will continue to contribute one half the award for the annual Gilbert Chinard Book Prize, the criteria for which will remain unchanged. Second, the new IFA fund will provide support advanced graduate students and early-career, untenured faculty working on French history and culture, who need to do research in France, though the provision of two research fellowships annually.  Responsibility for selecting the recipients will fall to the Society’s Research and Travel Award Committee.  Furthermore, these fellowships will, on an alternating basis, be named, in the one case, the Gilbert Chinard Fellowship or the Harmon Chadbourn Rorison Fellowship; and in the other, the Edouard Morot-Sir Fellowship or the Catherine Maley Fellowship. In the not-too-distant future, the SFHS website will include a brief biographical note about each of these individuals, along with announcements about the prizes and, subsequently, the names and affiliations of the winners.  The website will also contain a brief summary of the history and achievements of the IFA.

Read more about the Institut Français D’Amérique Fund Research Fellowships.