Showing Solidarity with France after the Fire at Notre Dame

Appeal by the Society for French Historical Studies, French Colonial Historical Society, the George Rudé Society, H-France, the Society for the Study of French History and the Western Society for French History to raise funds to help rebuild Notre Dame after the great damage to this culture treasure wrought by the fire of Monday, 15 April 2019. All contributions will be sent together by our societies to the fund being put in place by the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron.

You can click the button below to donate online or send an check to the Financial Officer of the SFHS (Lynn L. Sharp, Whitman College, 345 Boyer Avenue, Walla Walla, WA, 99362).


Proposed Changes to the SFHS Bylaws

The Executive Committee (EC) has voted to propose the following changes to the bylaws of the Society for French Historical Studies. Please send any feedback to Executive Director Tip Ragan (


Given our increasingly interconnected world and a sincere hope to deepen and strengthen the collaborative ties among all historians of France, the Executive Committee has voted to propose expanding the Executive Committee membership. We propose to achieve greater communication and exchange among all historians of France and Francophonie by adding two new at large positions, one from the metropolitan France and one from Francophone society outside the metropole.

Current bylaw language:

III F (first bullet point). The Executive Committee is the governing body of the Society. It is composed of the following officers and former officers of the Society: the President (or Co-Presidents); the Vice President (or Vice Presidents); the Executive Director; the Financial Officer; the Secretary/Web Coordinator; the Editor-in-Chief (or Co-Editors) of French Historical Studies; the presidents from the two previous years; the most recent past Executive Director (for two years following retirement from office); the most recent past Financial Officer (for two years following retirement from office); a representative of H-France; four at-large members, one of whom must hold a doctoral degree but has never held tenure at any time prior to time of election; and the President-Elect (or Co-Presidents-Elect).

Change to this new bylaw language:

III F. (first bullet point) The Executive Committee is the governing body of the Society. It is composed of the following officers and former officers of the Society: the President (or Co-Presidents); the Vice President (or Vice Presidents); the Executive Director; the Financial Officer; the Secretary/Web Coordinator; the Editor-in-Chief (or Co-Editors) of French Historical Studies; the presidents from the two previous years; the most recent past Executive Director (for two years following retirement from office); the most recent past Financial Officer (for two years following retirement from office); the President-Elect (or Co-Presidents-Elect). and six at-large members. Of these at-large members, one must hold a doctoral degree without having yet held tenure at time of election; one must work in France; and one must work in a Francophone society outside of metropolitan France. Finally, the Editor-in-Chief (or a designated representative) of H-France will also sit on the Executive Committee.


Current bylaw language:

III F (fourth bullet point) The four at-large members serve three-year staggered terms. They are appointed by the Executive Director with the advice and approval of the Executive Committee. The Editor-in-Chief of H-France serves as an ex officio (non-voting) member of the SFHS Executive Committee. If the Editor-in-Chief of H-France is unable to attend the annual SFHS Executive Committee meeting, the Editor-in-Chief may designate an H-France officer or editor to represent H-France at the meeting.

Change to this new bylaw language:

III F (fourth bullet point) The six at-large members serve three-year staggered terms. They are appointed by the Executive Director with the advice and approval of the Executive Committee. The Editor-in-Chief of H-France serves as an ex officio (non-voting) member of the SFHS Executive Committee. If the Editor-in-Chief of H-France is unable to attend the annual SFHS Executive Committee meeting, the Editor-in-Chief may designate an H-France officer or editor to represent H-France at the meeting.

Call for Papers
"History and its Publics: Doing Things Differently"

65th Annual meeting for the Society for French Historical Studies
Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI)
 Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
April 4-6, 2019

There is a long tradition among historians of France and the Francophone world of doing history "differently" so that we can engage a wider public through our craft.  Among other things, we have published editorials in newspapers, worked with filmmakers to tell stories from the past, granted interviews on television, published trade books, staged plays, written novels, maintained blogs and hosted festivals.  This conference will explore and celebrate the many ways that we innovate, play, or otherwise experiment with history to engage a broader public.  

Our keynote speaker will be Pierre Singaravélou (University Panthéon-Sorbonne). There will also be a plenary session with Catherine Blondeau (Director, Grand T Theater, Nantes) and Krystel Gualdé (Chief Curator, Museum of Nantes) to discuss their creation of the biannual festival "Nous Autres" in Nantes, France.

The program committee welcomes proposals in English or French for complete panels or individual papers on all aspects of French and Francophone studies, medieval to contemporary.  We particularly seek panels, roundtables, and workshops that explore this year’s theme of “History and Its Publics: Doing Things Differently."  What are the ways that historians carve a role for themselves as public intellectuals?  How have they engaged the public with history? What types of collaborations facilitate these public engagements? 

The conference will be held on the IUPUI campus in Indianapolis.  The campus borders along downtown Indianapolis and the White River State Park.  The White River State Park houses the Indianapolis Zoo, NCAA Headquarters, Indiana State Museum, and the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.  All of these sites are convenient to the campus and conference hotel (Sheraton Indianapolis City Center).

Please do not submit proposals for talks that have already been presented or published, or that have been submitted for presentation in another forum.  Paper proposals (in English or French) that are one page in length and accompanied by a brief CV must be submitted in digital format by 1 October 2018 to  Panel proposals typically contain three paper proposals plus a cover letter indicating who will serve as the chair and commentator for the panel.  Daniella Kostroun will serve as president of the society in 2019 and will organize the conference.  Questions can be directed to her at the above email address or at

In addition to paying the conference fees, all participants must be members of the Society for French Historical Studies in good standing at the time of the conference.  Membership dues should be paid directly to Duke University Press.

Appel à Communications 
«L'Histoire et ses publics: faire les choses autrement»

65e congrès annuel de la Society for French Historical Studies Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
4-6 avril, 2019

Parmi les historiens de la France et du monde francophone existe une longue tradition de «faire de l'histoire autrement» dans un souci de toucher des publics plus larges.  Diverses activités témoignent de cette volonté: rédiger des éditoriaux, travailler avec des cinéastes pour raconter des histoires du passé, accorder des interviews à la télévision, publier des ouvrages, présenter des pièces de théâtre, écrire des romans, entretenir des blogs, ou organiser des festivals. L'objectif de ce congrès est d'examiner et de mettre en valeur les nombreuses façons dont nous innovons, expérimentons ou jouons avec l'histoire afin d'y associer un public non académique.

Pierre Singaravélou, professeur à l’université Panthéon-Sorbonne sera notre conférencier d'honneur.  Une session plénière accueillera Catherine Blondeau (directeur du théâtre «Le Grand T» à Nantes), Krystel Gualdé (chargée du développement scientifique, au Musée d'histoire de Nantes) en vue de communiquer sur la création du festival biannuel «Nous Autres» à Nantes.

Le comité accepte les propositions en anglais ou en français pour les séances thématiques ou les communications individuelles sur tous les aspects de l'histoire Française et francophones, du Moyen Âge à la période contemporaine.

Nous privilégions les séances, tables rondes et ateliers qui explorent le thème de cette année: Par quels moyens les historiens peuvent-ils assumer le rôle d'intellectuels publics?  Comment entrent-ils en contact avec le public autour de l'histoire? Quels modèles de collaborations facilitent les engagements des historiens avec le public?

Le congrès se tiendra sur le campus d'IUPUI. Le campus se trouve à la lisière du centre-ville d'Indianapolis, et jouxte le White River State Park. Le White River State Park abrite le Zoo d'Indianapolis, le siège de la NCAA (l'Association Nationale du Sport Universitaire), le Musée de l'État d'Indiana, et le Musée Eiteljorg des amérindiens et de l'art de l'Ouest américain.   Tous ces sites sont à proximité du campus et de l'hôtel de colloque (Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre).

Nous vous remercions de ne pas soumettre de proposition de communications déjà présentées ou publiées, ou encore soumises en vue d’une présentation dans un autre forum. Les propositions (en français ou en anglais) qui n'excèderont pas une page et seront accompagnées par un bref résumé biographique; elles seront soumises au format numérique avant le 1 octobre 2018 à: L’organisateur du congrès et président de la Société est Daniella Kostroun. Les questions peuvent lui être envoyées directement a l'adresse électronique mentionnée ci-dessus ou à

Nous attirons votre attention sur le fait que tous les participants devront être membres en règle de la SFHS au moment du congrès. Les congressistes doivent payer les frais d'inscription au congrès et les frais d'adhésion au SFHS. Les frais d'adhésion sont à verser directement à la maison d'édition «Duke University Press» qui établit la liste officielle de membres de l'association SFHS.

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 (, Caroline Muller ( and Anne Verjus (

To submit an article, visit 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 (, Caroline Muller ( et Anne Verjus (

Pour soumettre un article, veuillez consulter  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. 


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.