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Posts Tagged ‘French History’

For a volume edited by Wolfram Pyta and Rüdiger Voigt, I wrote a contribution addressing the intersections of gender and power during the French Second Empire.

Die Öffentlichkeit weiblicher Arkanpolitik. Kaiserin Eugénie im Zweiten Kaiserreich

[The Publicity of Female Arcane Politics: Empress Eugénie in the Second Empire]

Focusing on Empress Eugénie de Montijo, the essay considers the question of female power in the Second Empire (1851-70) from a twofold perspective. On the one hand, I gauge the actual scope of her political agency – as Napoléon III’s wife, potential future regent, and mother of the crown prince, as a public figure, and as a well-connected and willful political actor in her own right. On the other, Eugénie’s real impact is contrasted with its contemporary imagination during the Second Empire and the Third Republic, which regularly framed the Empress as a paradigmatic figure of uncontrolled and irrational female influence behind the scenes and as a prime reason for the Empire’s eventual demise.

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I received notice that my article

  • Le silence du peuple: The Rhetoric of Silence during the French Revolution, in: French History 31, Nr. 4 (2017), 440–469, DOI: 10.1093/fh/crx062.

published last year in the journal French History, has been awarded the French History Article Prize 2017 by the Society for the Study of French History.

I am very grateful to the editorial board panel that selected my contribution and hope that the fact that the article is being made available online free of charge (here) will help it find a larger readership.

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The latest issue of French History includes an article I wrote on the role of silence during the French Revolution, titled

Le silence du peuple: The Rhetoric of Silence during the French Revolution

French History, 31, Issue 4 (2017), p. 440–469.

https://doi.org/10.1093/fh/crx062

Abstract

In July 1789, a phrase was introduced into French political discourse that would quickly become a standing expression: le silence du peuple est la leçon des rois. Taking this political bon mot as a starting point, the article traces the uses of and responses to collective silences during the French Revolution. It is argued that silence cannot be reduced to just the lack of ‘voice’ indicating suppression or political impotence. Rather, it must be understood as a mode of political action with a rhetoric of its own. Sketching this rhetoric not only highlights the nature and functions of a mode of political communication too often disregarded. It also shows how the controversies surrounding these silences reflected some of the major political questions of the day, playing a key role in the renegotiations of the communicative spaces of politics set off by the Revolution.

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