French history

  • Do French Pension Protests Reveal a Lazy Nation?

    by Robert Zaretsky

    French workers are among the most productive in Europe, but today's protests over a potential increase in the retirement age show a long tradition of defending the value of leisure as the chance to pursue one's own ends outside of paid labor. 

  • What Paris Means to Black Americans

    by Pamela Newkirk

    Although French society has its own deep issues with colonialism, racism and nativism, the author argues that Parisians' embrace of African American culture—and African Americans— is genuine and offers a mirror to the Black experience in American cities. 

  • France's Return of 24 Skulls to Algeria Wasn't What it Seemed

    The French and Algerian governments have both played up the gesture of reconciliation, without acknowledging that the provenance of the remains is dubious (only 6 are documented to be the skulls of Algerian resistance fighters) and they remain French property. 

  • Sex, Society and Scandal in 19th Century France

    Historian Sarah Horowitz found the tale of Marguerite Steinheil too juicy to confine to an academic book, though the scandal shows how women navigated sex and inequality at the end of the nineteenth century. 

  • A Legend of Innocence

    by Daniel Solomon

    Both the French left and right are impeding the teaching of how 75,000 French Jews were turned over to the Nazis. 

  • To Save la République, Macron Can't Ignore the Left

    by Moshik Temkin

    Macron's centrist strategy in the face of a rising far right is dangerous, but reflects the long turn to the center by the Socialist Party. Can he expect left-leaning constituencies to once again vote to save France from fascism while getting nothing in return? 

  • In Zemmour, France's Old Bigotry Finds New Voice

    by Mitchell Abidor and Miguel Lago

    Presidential candidate Éric Zemmour's Jewishness should not be a shield for his manipulation of France's historical bigotries for political gain.

  • Why Don't the French Celebrate Lafayette?

    Two new books examine the life and legacy of the Marquis de Lafayette, whose reputation in the United States far exceeds his esteem in his native France. 

  • The Difference a Day Makes: Robespierre's 9 Thermidor

    by Colin Jones

    The eventful 9 Thermidor (July 27, 1794) is seen as a pivotal day for French Revolution. Colin Jones digs deep into the archival documentation of the day and argues that the day's significance is real but misunderstood.