September 2005 Newsletter
Among the items of special interest in this issue of the
newsletter are the call for papers and logistical information on the 2006
annual meeting in
This issue also contains the Heggoy and Eccles prize citations. The FCHS is pleased to welcome Owen White to
the Heggoy Committee.
In addition to news from colleagues and the presidential letter, this
issue also contains several other noteworthy items. In particular, please note
Finally, please check to see if your dues are up to date; the mailing labels for the newsletter will indicate the years for which dues have been paid.
June, the beautiful campus of
Several items of importance to the Society’s future activities were reported at Wolfville; some have already been reported in previous newsletters but bear repeating here. First of all, the Society is fortunate that Leslie Choquette has become editor of French Colonial History for the next two years. Together with an enlarged editorial board, Leslie is hard at work selecting and editing submissions for volume 7, which will be published next spring. At the meeting a change in submissions policy was announced, to take effect immediately. In the past, articles were only accepted for publication in French Colonial History (as earlier in Proceedings) if they had been presented at one of the Society’s annual meetings. From now on, Society members (only) can submit papers for FCH whether or not they were delivered at an annual meeting. Given the constraints of the FCH editing and publishing schedule, however, submissions will only be read and evaluated once a year, in the summer, for publication in the next year’s volume of the journal. If you have any questions about the new policy, please contact Leslie at LeslieChoquette@msn.com.
year’s Heggoy Prize winner was also announced at Wolfville, and the announcement is printed elsewhere in
this newsletter, together with a call for submissions for the 2006 Prize. After
several years of service, most recently as chair,
Shortly after the conference,
H-French-Colonial, a listserv hosted by H-Net, came on line. In just a few
months it has proved a valuable source of information, including cross-posts
from other listservs of interest, so I encourage you
to subscribe if you have not done so already. H-French-Colonial is ably edited
By this point you should have received
your copy of volume 6 of French Colonial History, edited by Pat
Galloway. Once again, I’d like to thank Pat for her fine service as editor of
volumes 5 and 6. If you have not received volume 6, and you are a paid-up
member of the Society, please contact our Secretary-Treasurer
This issue of the newsletter also
contains an update on next year’s meeting, which will be held in
Future meetings will be held in
Best wishes for the autumn.
Alf Andrew Heggoy Book Prize, 2006
the French Colonial Historical Society presents a book in honor of one of its
founding members, Alf Andrew Heggoy. Book prize recognition includes an award of
US $350 for the best book published during the previous year dealing with the
French colonial experience from the 16th to the 20th century. Books from any academic discipline will be
considered but they must approach the consideration of the French colonial
experience from an historical perspective.
The deadline for this year is
Applicants or their publishers
should send three copies of books published in 2004 to the chairperson of the
book prize committee: Eric Jennings, Department of History,
The award will be announced at the
annual conference of the French Colonial Historical Society in
French Colonial Historical Society
Société d'histoire coloniale française
Alf Andrew Heggoy Book Prize, 2005
Londa. Plants and Empire: Colonial Bioprospecting in the Atlantic World.
It is certainly a cliché for a prize
committee to comment upon the difficulty of selecting a winner among the many
fine nominees in a given year. Yet, I must insist that, in my four years of
service on the Heggoy Book Prize committee, this
year’s selection has been especially challenging, due to the very high number
of truly exceptional submissions. We had fourteen nominees in total (a record
during my tenure on the committee), several from some of the most prestigious
and specialized presses in
Many of this year’s nominees challenge our preconceptions about what, in fact, constitutes French colonial history. Whereas, at one time, the field might be self-evidently taken as the study of Frenchmen (their lives and institutions) in their overseas colonies, this year’s submissions – more than any in the recent past – ask us to reexamine the French imperial experience from the outside in, by privileging the perspectives of the people indigenous – or forcibly transported – to the regions where French colonists settled, conquered and ruled. Perhaps most revealingly, several of this year’s nominated books call into question an earlier commonsense division between the French metropole as Hexagon and its overseas colonies by examining the political and cultural resistence between peripheral regions (the Camargue, the Larzac) and Parisian centrality.
Yet this year’s winner, Londa Schiebinger’s Plants and Empire: Colonial Bioprospecting in the Atlantic World (Harvard), clearly stands out for its originality and elegance. A groundbreaking work in Atlantic history, environmental history and the history of science, Plants and Empire follows a single plant about which very little was previously known or written, Merian's peacock flower, decoding its many colonial connections. Schiebinger traces knowledge of the plant from its discovery and use by indigenous and enslaved women in the West Indies as an abortifacient, into the written records of French and other European colonists (Poincy, Descourtilz, Merian, Sloane), to Europe, where the exotic plant was happily cultivated but where knowledge of its capacity to end pregnancy disappeared. In this way, Shiebinger asks us to consider the ways that science and empire privilege certain knowledge, while allowing others to become lost in a self-induced “ignorance.”
The selection of this book as winner
of the Heggoy Prize for “the best book ... dealing
with the French colonial experience from the 16th to the 20th century” will no
doubt be controversial, because of its subject matter,
argument and scope. By addressing the imperialism of resource identification
and extraction (in Schiebinger’s neologism: bioprospecting) and the controversial subject of abortion, Schiebinger’s detailed analysis of the early modern natural
sciences implicitly critiques many of presentist
positions as universal or eternal.
Because her argument traces not only the direct transmission of
knowledge but also absences, forgetting, and silences, some will criticize this
work as speculative but, as Schiebinger clearly
shows, there are limits to positivist history; through diligent research and
careful interrogation of sources, we can catch glimpses of the worlds beyond
the records produced by colonial participants. Finally, although Plants and
Empire goes beyond the French colonial empire to embrace an “extended
In short, Londa Schiebinger’s Plants and Empire is an eminently readable, meticulously argued, extremely original work of history that deserves to be read widely – by scholars of the French colonies, yes, but also by students, historians of science, of gender relations, of slavery, of the environment, of empire, of the Atlantic world. In recognition of the excellence of this book and in the interest of recommending it to members of the French Colonial Historical Society and a much wider audience, the prize committee celebrates Plants and Empire with the 2005 Heggoy Book Prize.
Books Nominated for the Annual
Alf Andrew Heggoy Book Prize, 2005
Dubois, Laurent. A Colony of
Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French
This impressive, highly readable account of the revolution in
Laurent. Avengers of the
This colorful, extremely readable history of the Haitian Revolution will deservedly be used in many classes as “the” text of the revolution.
Martin. Empire and Culture: the French Experience, 1830-1940.
A well integrated and high quality conference volume on the cultural aspects of French empire in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this work includes thematic sections on film; photography; food, music and dance; and promoting the French empire.
Genova, James Eskridge. Colonial
Ambivalence, Cultural Authenticity, and the Limitations of Mimicry in
French-Ruled West Africa, 1914-1956.
This interesting study, drawing upon postcolonial and cultural theory, examines the role of the French-educated African elite or évolués, in the period from the First World War to the eve of decolonization.
Timothy. Rendezvous at the Straits: Fur Trade and Military Activities at
This comprehensive 2-volume study presents
more than seventy drawings and images plus more than fifty translations of the
documents to shed light on the early fur traders around the
A lively account of the portage place,
replaced in 1869 by a canal, between the Bras d’Or
Lebovics, Herman. Bringing the Empire
A lively, well written and probing account of various manifestations of French regionalism and anti-globalization, this innovative study reconfigures the notion of imperial center and periphery by examining the manufacture and assertion of regionalisms against the Parisian center as well as popular New France nationalism, as evidenced in the fans of the French multiracial soccer team’s win over Brazil in 1998.
Lorin, Amaury. Paul Doumer, gouverneur général de l’Indochine (1897-1902), le tremplin colonial. L’Harmattan.
A passionate biography of Paul Doumer, whose governorship left a strong impression on the French colony of Indochine at the turn of the century.
James. In Search of Empire: The French in the
This wide-ranging account of
Frédéric Régent, Esclavage, Métissage, Liberté: La Révolution française à la
Based on meticulous archival work, this
detailed study examines the social structure of
Reid, John G., Maurice Basque, Elizabeth Mancke,
Barry Moody, Geoffrey Plank, and William Wicken.
The “Conquest” of
This very strong collaborative project
examines the French surrender of the colony of
Barnet and John Langdon, Cultured Force: Makers and Defenders of the French
A colorful revisionist history of French
imperialism, from the conquest of
Zaretsky, Robert. Cock and
exploration of the cultural and political tensions between metropolitan
W. J. Eccles Prize, 2005
well-written and carefully structured paper tracks a pedestrian opera
manuscript as it moves through the censorship mill in
Cheyne takes the surviving version of the libretto, together with the comments of censors and references in the press, and from these sources teases out an analysis of French unease over questions of empire and colony, monarchy and republic and troubled French assumptions about hierarchy, in particular, racial hierarchy. By replacing a black, colonial protagonist with an Arab one and by shifting the scene of action from the Antilles to Madagascar, the libretto's revision avoided any encouragement for the audience to think about the metropolitan/colonial, white/black dichotomies that existed in Restoration France and instead found a villain for the piece outside the confines of the French cultural/imperial sphere in the person of an Arab, savage but also outlandish, irrelevant, and unchallenging. The documentary materials here analyzed are for Cheyne the pieces of a puzzle, a puzzle with many gaps, which this historian has fitted together with great intellectual dexterity in this tour de force of historical investigation and explanation.
Colleagues at Work
Ken Orosz is revising his dissertation entitled “Religious Conflict and the Evolution of Language Policy in German and French Cameroon, 1885-1939" for publication with Peter Lang. He expects to submit the revised manuscript in the spring.
The Lyceum in Alexandria, VA is hosting the Potomac History Symposium: the French and Indian War on October 20-21, 2005. For more information contact the Lyceum, Alexandria VA’s Hisotyr Museum, 201 S. Washington St, Alexandria, VA 22314 or go to http://oha.ci.alexandria.va.us/lycuem/
The National History Center, an initiative of the American Historical Association, will be conducting an international research seminar in Washington, DC July 10-August 4, 2006 on the history of decolonization in the 20th century. The seminar organizers invite applications from historians at the beginning of their careeers (including PhD candidates) interested in studying various aspects of decolonization. Those selected will received economy round trip airfare to Washington plus a $2,500 stipend to cover living expenses. For application guidelines go to http://www.historians.org/projects/nhc/decolonization.
The Society of Early Americanists (hereafter SEA) has invited the FCHS to propose a panel for its fifth biennial conference, which will take place on June 7-10, 2007, at Williamsburg, VA, in conjunction with the 13th annual conference of the OIEAHC, or Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. What the FCHS is being asked to prrepare is one panel (i.e. two to three papers with a chair). Given the focus of the SEA and the OIEAHC, our panel should obviously relate to the Americas and be of interest to specialists who belong to the two above-named organizations. Bob DuPlessis has asked A.J.B. (John) Johnston to be the FCHS contact person for the panel. So if you have an idea for a paper, or for an entire session, please contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org. One idea is for a session on some of the lieux de la mémoire in the United States and Canada that have French colonial themes. Though June 2007 sounds like a long way off, John would like to have your ideas and proposals over the coming winter so that the proposed panel is at least on paper by June 2006.
University College Dublin is organizing a conference on Religion and Empire to be held June 20-21, 2006. The conference organizers invite papers which examine the role of religion in serving, thwarting, transforming, mitigating or reinforcing colonial empires. For more information consult the conference website at http://www.ucd.ie/austud/empireligion.htm or contact either Prof. Hilary Carey, School of History, University College Dublin (tel 353 1 716 8151; e-mail email@example.com) or Prof. Hugh McLeod, University of Birmingham (tel 44 121 41 45665).
California State University Stanislaus invites paper submissions for a conference on “Empire, Borderlands and Border Cultures” on March 16-18, 2006. The conference organizers are interested in papers which deal with such topics as diaspora, immigration, reverse colonization, imperialism and visual culture, gender and empire, the empire in popular culture, and the construction of identities. Send paper proposals and a 1 page cv to Arnold Schmidt, Empire Conference Committee, Department of English, California State University Stanislaus, 801 W Monte Vista Ave, Turlock, CA 95382 or via e-mail to Aschmidt@csustan.edu.
The University of Chicago’s Comparing Colonialisms Workshop is seeking paper proposals for a graudate symposium entitled “The Thing Speaks for Itself: Articulating Evidence and Discourse in Colonial Studies.” The symposium will be held at the University of Chicago November 17-18, 2005. Send one page abstracts no later than October 7, 2005 to Matthew Kelly, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago, 1126 East 59th St, Chicago IL 60637 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the symposium go to http://cas.uchicago.edu/workshops/compcol/
Eastern Illinois University will be hosting an international conference on the theme “Images of African Peoples: Photography, history and Culture in Africa and the African Diaspora” from March 31 to April 2, 2006 in Charleston, IL Prospective participants should submit 250 word abstracts including their name, contact information and institutional affiliation no later than November 30, 2005 to Dr. Onaiwu W. Ogbomo, African American Studies, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL 61920. For more information on the conference see http://www.eiu.edu/~afriamer/aadc2006/
The World History Association will hold its 2006 conference on the themes “Teaching World History” and “The Americas in World History” at California State University at Long Beach. To submit a paper or panel use the forms on the WHA website at http://thewha.org no later than January 2006. Additional details can be found on the association webpage or by contacting the World History Association, 2530 Dole St, A203, Honolulu, HI 96822.
The French Colonial Historical Society will hold its 2006 annual meeting in Dakar, Senegal, May 17-20.The principal theme of the meeting is Cultures et colonization en Afrique française” / “Cultures and Colonization in French Africa.” However, as always, the conference planning committee welcomes proposals on any aspect of French activities overseas after 1500. The deadline for proposals is October 15, 2005. Complete proposals should include your name, insitutional affiliation, contact information, paper title, and a 100-200 word paper abstract. Please send individual paper proposals or, preferably, panel session proposals to one of the following individuals:
For prospective participants from North and South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, please send pre-nineteenth century topics to Philip Boucher at email@example.com or via regular mail at Department of History, University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, AL 35899 USA; for post-eighteenth century topics, contact Ken Orosz at firstname.lastname@example.org or via regular mail at Department of Social Sciences and Business, University of Maine at Farmington, 270 Main St., Farmington, ME 04938, USA. For residents of Africa, send proposals to Ibrahima Seck at the West African Research Center, PO Box 5456 Dakar-Fann, Dakar, Senegal. His email is email@example.com
All participants whose papers have been accepted must pay the registration fee to the Secretary-Treasurer (Bill Newbigging) and send an abstract to the Program Chair no later than April 1. Failure to fulfill these responsibilities will result in the paper being dropped from the program.
La Société d’Histoire Coloniale Française sollicite des propositions de communications individuelles, ou de panels pour son congrès annuel qui aura lieu à l’Université Cheik Anta Diop de Dakar, au Sénégal, du 17 au 20 mai 2006. Le thème retenu pour cette rencontre est "Cultures et colonisation en Afrique française”. Cependant, tous les sujets relatifs à l’histoire coloniale française seront les bienvenus.
Les personnes intéressées sont invitées à réfléchir, entre autres, sur les transferts culturels entre la France et ses colonies, les réponses des Africains à la ‘politique culturelle’ coloniale, la nature des rapports entre les colonies françaises en Afrique (ou ailleurs), leurs populations et leurs voisins, les continuités et ruptures entre les périodes précoloniale, coloniale et postcoloniale.
Pour les communications individuelles, veuillez envoyer par courriel aux personnes appropriées un résumé de 100 à 200 mots, incluant le titre de votre communication, votre nom, celui de votre institution d’affiliation, et votre contact (e-mail, téléphone, fax). Pour les panels, veuillez envoyer un résumé de 100 à 200 mots, le titre du panel et des différentes communications, le nom de chaque participant et de son institution d’affiliation, et les nom et contact du modérateur du panel.
Vous trouverez des informations additionnelles sur le congrès et sur la Société d’Histoire Coloniale Française sur le site www.frenchcolonial.org. Toutes vos questions peuvent être adressées aux membres du comité du programme, identifiés ci-haut.
The annual meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society will take place for the first time in Africa in the Senegalese capital of Dakar from May 17 to May 20, 2006. The conference sessions will be held on the campus of the Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar (www.ucad.sn). Possible activities include a tour of the Slave House on the Island of Gorée and visits to the Fondation Leopold Senghor, the Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire (IFAN) and St. Louis (former capital of Senegal). Full details will be made available on the FCHS website.
The FCHS has assembled a group package for the flight between North America and Dakar. If you live in the US or Canada and are interested in the Travel Package to Dakar, Senegal for our meeting in May 2006, please contact Kwaku Gyasi at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible or send payments directly to:
Ms. Blackwood can be reached toll free at (800) 445-4611, via telephone at (773) 363-9500, fax (773) 363-7164 or via e-mail at email@example.com. Please be advised that the travel agency required a $100 deposit per person by August 1, 2005. However, if you were unable to meet the August 1 deadline you can still send your $100 deposit to Ms. Blackwood by September 15. The entire package costs $1970.00 and includes:
Hotel accommodation for participants not using the travel package but who would like to stay in the two package hotels should mention FCHS and Albay Travel services when making reservations themselves or contact Albay Travel Services (see contact information below).
Members are encouraged to visit www.senegal-tourism.com or www.seneweb.com (click on Tourisme) for more information about going to Senegal. They are strongly encouraged take malaria pills and bring insect repellent.