French history

  • Why the French are Striking

    by Moshik Temkin

    Brits and Americans commonly refer to French protests as a form of national sport, which obscures the serious retrenchment of the welfare state that President Macron is seeking to oppose, and trivializes opposition to the changes. 

  • The French Fascination with the Cadavers of the Bastille

    by Nicole Bauer

    The prison held a symbolic place in the minds of antiroyalists that exceeded its actual significance; the themes of gothic horror were reflected in political tracts that denounced the horrors of imprisonment there. 

  • 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.