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Republicanism in France and the Colonies

Seminar questions:

  • What explains Republican anti-clericalism?

  • What were Jules Ferry's aims for the Republican education system?

  • How successful was the Republican campaign against clericalism in the late nineteenth century?

  • How did Republicans justify colonial expansion?

  • What were the similarities, if any, between Republicanism in France and in the colonies?

Core Reading:

Further Reading:

Primary Sources

  • Selections from W Fortescue, The Third Republic in France, 1870-1940: conflicts and continuities (2000)


  • P MacPhee, Social History of France (2004), chap 13

  • R Magraw, France, 1800-1914, Chap 4, 6

  • R Kedward, La Vie en Bleu, chap 1

  • Gildea, Children of the Revolution (2008), chap 12

  • Alice Conklin, Sarah Fishman, and Robert Zaretsky, France and its Empire since 1870 (Oxford, OUP, 2010), chaps 3 and 4

The third Republic

  • P Nord, The Republican Moment: Struggles for Democracy in Nineteenth Century France (1995)

  • S Elwitt, The Making of the Third Republic: Class and Politics in France 1868-1884 (1975)

  • J Ellis The Physician-Legislators of France 1870-1914 (1990)

  • R Gildea, The Third Republic from 1870-1914 (1988)

  • S Elwitt, The Third Republic Defended: Bourgeois reform in France, 1880-1914 (1986)

  • Jean-Marie Mayeur and Madeleine Rebérioux, The Third Republic from its origins to the Great War, 1871-1914 (1984)

Republican Anti-clericalism and the Catholic revival

  • R Gibson, ‘Why Republicans and Catholics couldn’t stand each other in the Nineteenth Century' in F. Tallett and N Atkin (ed) Religion, Society and Politics in France since 1789 (1991), 107-120

  • M Larkin, Church and State after the Dreyfus Affair: The Separation Issue in France (1974)

  • C Langlois, 'Catholics and Seculars,' in P Nora (ed), Realms of Memory Vol I Conflicts and Divisions (1996)

  • J W Monroe, ‘Cartes de visite from the Other World: Spiritism and the Discourse of Laïcisme in the Early Third Republic,’ French Historical Studies 26:1 (2003), 119-153

  • R Magraw, 'The Conflict in the Villages: Popular anticlericalism in the Isère 1852-70,' in Zeldin (ed), Conflicts in French Society (1970)

  • B Singer, Village Notables in 19th-Century France: Priests, Mayors and Schoolteachers (1983)

  • G Cubitt, 'Martyrs of Charity, Heroes of Solidarity: Catholic and Republican Responses to the Fire at the Bazar de la Charité, Paris, 1897'. French History 21:3 (2007): 331-352

  • R Harris, Lourdes: Body and Spirit in a Secular Age (1999)

  • C Ford, Creating the Nation in Provincial France: Religion and Political Identity in Brittany (1996 )

  • R Stuart, Jesus the Sans-Culotte’: Marxism and Religion during the French Fin-de-Siècle,’ The Historical Journal 42:3 (1999), 705-27

  • C Ford, Divided Houses: Religion and Gender in Modern France (2005)

  • S Kaufman, Consuming Visions: Mass Culture and the Loudres Shrine (2005)

  • J Goldstein, 'The Hysteria Diagnosis and the Politics of Anti-Clericalism,' Journal of Modern History 54 (1982), 209-39

  • J Hecht, 'Scientific Materialism and the Liturgy of Death: the invention of a secular version of Catholic Last Rites,' French Historical Studies (1997)

  • R Stuart, 'A ‘De Profundis’ for Christian Socialism: French Marxists and the Critique of Political Catholicism,' French Historical Studies (1998)

  • R Jonas, France and the Cult of the Sacred Heart (2000)

  • R Jonas, 'Restoring a sacred centre: Pilgrimages, Politics and the Sacré Coeur,' Historical ReflectionsR/RH (1994)

  • R Gibson, A Social History of French Catholicism: 1780-1914 (1989)

  • J McMillan, 'Reclaiming a Martyr: French Catholics and the Cult of Joan of Arc' in D Woods (ed) Martyrs and Martyrologies (1993)

  • J McManners, Church and State in France, 1870-1914 (1972)


  • R Gildea, Education in Provincial France (1983)

  • K Auspitz, The Radical Bourgeoisie: The ‘Ligue de l’Enseignement’ 1866-1885(1982)

  • T Baycroft, 'Peasants into Frenchmen: the Case of the Flemish in the North of France' European Review of History 2:1 (1995)

  • B Singer, 'The Teacher as Notable in Brittany 1880-1914,' French Historical Studies (1977)

  • C Day, 'The Rustic Man: The Rural Schoolmaster in Nineteenth Century France,' Comparative Studies in Society and History 25/1 (1983)

  • L Clark Schooling the Daughters of Marianne (1984)

  • S Gemie Women and Schooling in France 1815 -1914 (1995)

  • M Guiney, Teaching the cult of literature in the French Third Republic (2004)

  • J Strachan, 'Romance, Religion and the Republic: Bruno's Le tour de la France par deux enfants,' French History, 18:1 (2004)

  • R Rogers, 'Retrograde or Modern? Unveiling the Teaching Nun in 19th-Century France' Social History (1998)

  • P Harrigan/ R Grew, 'The Catholic Contribution to Universal Schooling in France' Journal of Modern History (1985)

  • S Curtis, 'Lay habits, Religious Teachers and the Secularisation Crisis of 1901-4,' French History (1995)

  • K Offen ‘The Second Sex and the Baccalauréat in Republican France, 1880-1924,’ French Historical Studies 13:2 (1983) 252-286

  • J-B Margadant, Madame le Professeur: Women Educators in the Third Republic (1990)

Republicanism, Colonialism and the "Civilizing Mission"

  • A Conklin, A mission to civilize: the republican idea of empire in France and West Africa, 1895-1930 (1997)

  • A Conklin, ‘Colonialism and Human Rights, A Contradiction in Terms? The Case of French West Africa, 1895-1914,’ American Historical Review, (1998)

  • W Cohen, The French encounter with Africans: White response to Blacks, 1530-1880 (1980)

  • R Aldrich, Greater France: A History of French Overseas Expansion (1996)

  • M G Vann, Of Rats, Rice, and Race: The Great Hanoi Rat Massacre, an Episode in French Colonial History,' French Colonial History 4, 2003, pp. 191-203

  • H. Schneider, An empire for the masses: The French popular image of Africa, 1870-1900 (1982)

  • P Brocheux and D Heìmery, Indochina: An Ambiguous Colonization, 1858-1954 (2009)

  • G Wright, 'Tradition in the Service of Modernity: Architecture and Urbanism in French Colonial Policy 1900-1930,' Journal of Modern History 59 (1987)

  • R Benjamin, Orientalist Aesthetics: Art, Colonialism and French North Africa (2003)

  • B Taithe, The Killer Trail (2009)

  • O Abi-Mershed, Apostles of Modernity: Saint-Simonians and the civilizing mission in Algeria (2010)

  • S Segalla, The Moroccan Soul: French Education, Colonial Ethnology and Muslim Resistance, 1912-1956 (2010)

  • T Chafer and A Sackur, Promoting the Colonial Idea: Propaganda and Visions of Empire in France (2002)

  • M Evans (ed), Empire and Culture: The French Experience (2004)

  • A Hannoum, Violent Modernity:France in Algeria (2010)

  • D Brower, A Desert Named Peace: The Violence of France’s Empire in the Algerian Sahara, 1844-1902 (2009)

  • R Keller, Colonial Madness: Psychiatry in French North Africa (2007)

  • E Jennings, Curing the Colonizers: Hydrotherapy, Climatology and French Colonial Spas (2006)

  • J Schreier, Arabs of the Jewish Faith: The Civilizing Mission in Colonial Algeria (2010)

  • J. P. Daughton, An Empire Divided: Religion, Republicanism, and the Making of French Colonialism, 1880-1914 (OUP, 2006)

  • P Lorcin, Imperial identities: Stereotyping, prejudice and race in colonial Algeria (1995)

  • M-P Ha, 'Le femme francaise au colonies: Promoting Colonial Female Emigration at the Turn of the Century' French Colonial History 6 (2005)

  • H Gafaïti, P. M. E. Lorcin, and David G. Troyansky (eds) Transnational spaces and identities in the francophone world (2009)

  • R. L. Daughton, ‘A Colonial Affair?: Dreyfus and the French Empire,’ Historical Reflections / Réflexions historiques 31:3 (2005), 469-84

  • P. M. E. Lorcin, ed., Algeria and France, 1800–2000: Identity, Memory, Nostalgia (2006)

  • E Berenson, Heroes of Empire: Five Charismatic Men and the Conquest of Africa (2010)

  • G Wilder, The French Imperial Nation-State (2005), chap 1

  • R F Betts, Assimilation and association in French colonial theory, 1890-1914 (1961)

  • D. J.Sherman, ‘The Arts and Sciences of French Colonialism,’ French Historical Studies 23:4 (2000) 707-729