289 episodes

Interviews with Scholars of France about their New Books
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New Books in French Studies Marshall Poe

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.2 • 13 Ratings

Interviews with Scholars of France about their New Books
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    Daniel Lee, "The Right of Sovereignty: Jean Bodin on the Sovereign State and the Law of Nations" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Daniel Lee, "The Right of Sovereignty: Jean Bodin on the Sovereign State and the Law of Nations" (Oxford UP, 2021)

    Sovereignty is the vital organizing principle of modern international law. Daniel Lee's book The Right of Sovereignty: Jean Bodin on the Sovereign State and the Law of Nations (Oxford UP, 2021) examines the origins of that principle in the legal and political thought of its most influential theorist, Jean Bodin (1529/30-1596). As the author argues in this study, Bodin's most lasting theoretical contribution was his thesis that sovereignty must be conceptualized as an indivisible bundle of legal rights constitutive of statehood. While these uniform 'rights of sovereignty' licensed all states to exercise numerous exclusive powers, including the absolute power to 'absolve' and release its citizens from legal duties, they were ultimately derived from, and therefore limited by, the law of nations. The book explores Bodin's creative synthesis of classical sources in philosophy, history, and the medieval legal science of Roman and canon law in crafting the rules governing state-centric politics.
    The Right of Sovereignty is the first book in English on Bodin's legal and political theory to be published in nearly a half-century and surveys themes overlooked in modern Bodin scholarship: empire, war, conquest, slavery, citizenship, commerce, territory, refugees, and treaty obligations. It will interest specialists in political theory and the history of modern political thought, as well as legal history, the philosophy of law, and international law.
    Tejas Parasher is Junior Research Fellow in Political Thought and Intellectual History at King’s College, University of Cambridge.
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    • 1 hr 4 min
    Ambrogio A. Caiani, "To Kidnap a Pope: Napoleon and Pius VII" (Yale UP, 2021)

    Ambrogio A. Caiani, "To Kidnap a Pope: Napoleon and Pius VII" (Yale UP, 2021)

    In the wake of the French Revolution, Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of France, and Pope Pius VII shared a common goal: to reconcile the Catholic church with the French state. But while they were able to work together initially, formalizing a Concordat in 1801, relations between them rapidly deteriorated. In 1809, Napoleon ordered the Pope’s arrest.
    Dr. Ambrogio Caiani, Senior Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Kent, in his book, To Kidnap a Pope: Napoleon and Pius VII (Yale University Press, 2021), provides a pioneering account of the tempestuous relationship between the emperor and his most unyielding opponent. Drawing on original source materials in the Vatican and other European archives, Dr. Caiani uncovers the nature of Catholic resistance against Napoleon’s empire; charts Napoleon’s approach to Papal power; and reveals how the Emperor attempted to subjugate the church to his vision of modernity. Gripping and vivid, this splendid book shows the struggle for supremacy between two great individuals—and sheds new light on the conflict that would shape relations between the Catholic church and the modern state for centuries to come.
    Charles Coutinho Ph. D. of the Royal Historical Society, received his doctorate from New York University. His area of specialization is 19th and 20th-century European, American diplomatic and political history. He has written for Chatham House’s International Affairs, the Institute of Historical Research's Reviews in History and the University of Rouen's online periodical Cercles.
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    • 43 min
    Emile Chabal, "France" (Polity, 2020)

    Emile Chabal, "France" (Polity, 2020)

    An accessible and compelling read, Emile Chabal's France (Polity, 2020) is an overview of the nation's political history from 1940 right up to the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organized thematically around the paradoxes at the heart of the French Republic since the period of the Second World War (and with roots well before this period), the book is an excellent introduction to historical contests over what France means--and what it means to be "French"-- the legacies of which persist well into the twenty-first century.
    An introduction that will be extremely helpful to students and non-specialists, the book also offers a reading and arguments regarding French politics and history that will inspire discuss among those more familiar with this terrain. In chapters that fit well together while making strong individual arguments, France examines defeat and resistance after 1940, the colonial and anti-colonial pasts, strategies and narratives of grandeur and decline, the political divisions of left and right, republicanism, and tensions between the local and global. Moving from a complex past towards what promises to be a no less complex future, the book is serious, smart, quick, and a pleasure to read.   
    Roxanne Panchasi is an Associate Professor of History at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada who specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century France and its empire. If you have a recent title to suggest for the podcast, please send her an email (panchasi@sfu.ca).
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    • 1 hr 1 min
    Susan Mokhberi, "The Persian Mirror: French Reflections of the Safavid Empire in Early Modern France" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    Susan Mokhberi, "The Persian Mirror: French Reflections of the Safavid Empire in Early Modern France" (Oxford UP, 2019)

    When I/we think about the early modern relationship between France and Persia, Montesquieu's 1721 Lettres persanes is a text that comes to mind immediately. Susan Mokhberi's The Persian Mirror: Reflections of the Safavid Empire in Early Modern France (Oxford UP, 2019) is a kind of a pre-history of Montesquieu's work that is, in different ways, more of a commentary on France and the French than Persia or Persians during this period. The Persian Mirror's several chapters examine a range of cultural and political texts, including letters, literature, travel writing, and material artifacts from the period, excavating the French relationship to Persia and Persian culture as both reflective and distorting.
    Distinct from other sites in the region, Persia fascinated the French who were also hopeful that a political alliance with the Safavid Empire might work to counter the powerful Ottoman Empire. French observers in the period lingered on different forms of affinity between France and Persia while also tracking and commenting on the cultural divide that was evident in diplomatic and other exchanges between the two powers. The book brings together analysis of the French cultural imagination of Persia with a careful reading of real-life encounters such as the visit to France by the Persian ambassador Mohamed Beg in 1715. In addition to the perceptions of a common ground between cultures and political regimes, Franco-Persian relations also included misunderstanding and conflict. Concerns about the resemblance between France and Persia morphed and grew as political critiques of despotism, political power, decadence, and inequality emerged and proliferated in the period. After the fall of the Safavid Empire, France's anxious attention focused with increasing intensity on the Ottoman Empire into the later eighteenth century.
    Roxanne Panchasi is an Associate Professor of History at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada who specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century France and its empire. If you have a recent title to suggest for the podcast, please send her an email (panchasi@sfu.ca).
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    • 1 hr
    Ethan Kleinberg, "Emmanuel Levinas's Talmudic Turn: Philosophy and Jewish Thought" (Stanford UP, 2021)

    Ethan Kleinberg, "Emmanuel Levinas's Talmudic Turn: Philosophy and Jewish Thought" (Stanford UP, 2021)

    In this episode, I interview Ethan Kleinberg, professor of history and letters at Wesleyan University, about his new book, Emmanuel Levinas’s Talmudic Turn: Philosophy and Jewish Thought, recently published by Stanford University Press. In this rich intellectual history of the French-Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas's Talmudic lectures in Paris, Ethan Kleinberg addresses Levinas's Jewish life and its relation to his philosophical writings while making an argument for the role and importance of Levinas's Talmudic lessons.
    The book, largely written in two columnar strands of text, explores the difference between Levinas’s conception of “God on Our Side” and “God on God’s Side” to animate two parallel and, at times, conflicting Talmudic readings Levinas engages in. One is historically situated and argued from "our side" while the other uses Levinas's Talmudic readings themselves to approach the issues as timeless and derived from "God on God's own side." Bringing the two approaches together, Kleinberg asks whether the ethical message and moral urgency of Levinas's Talmudic lectures can be extended beyond the texts and beliefs of a chosen people, religion, or even the seemingly primary unit of the self.
    Touching on Western philosophy, French Enlightenment universalism, and the Lithuanian Talmudic tradition, Kleinberg provides readers with a boundary-pushing investigation into the origins, influences, and causes of Levinas's turn to and use of Talmud.
    Britt Edelen is a Ph.D. student in English at Duke University. He focuses on modernism and the relationship(s) between language, philosophy, and literature. You can find him on Twitter or send him an email.
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    • 1 hr 5 min
    Andrea E. Duffy, "Nomad's Land: Pastoralism and French Environmental Policy in the Nineteenth-Century Mediterranean World" (U Nebraska Press, 2019)

    Andrea E. Duffy, "Nomad's Land: Pastoralism and French Environmental Policy in the Nineteenth-Century Mediterranean World" (U Nebraska Press, 2019)

    Chronicling the retreat of mobile pastoralization from Mediterranean coastlines, Andrea Duffy's Nomad's Land: Pastoralism and French Environmental Policy in the Nineteenth-Century Mediterranean World (U Nebraska Press, 2019) investigates a mystery: where did the sheep go? Duffy seeks the answer by exploring the relationship between forestry policy and pasteurization by comparing and contrasting the implementation of French Forestry in France's Provence, French colonial Algeria, and Ottoman Anatolia. Anxieties over deforestation drove the French forestry regime to marginalize active transhumant pastoral communities around the inner sea while altering imperial institutions and Mediterranean landscapes. The focus on the Mediterranean engages with a transnational study exhibiting the visible and invisible patterns and distinctions over time and shared space. Overstepping the political divisions among states highlights the geographical and ecological features framing the importance of diverging geographical and ecological features helpful in studying environmental studies. The Mediterranean framework of her argument works to investigate social and cultural connections while cutting across traditional political and ideological frontiers. An accessible, well-researched, and well-organized Nomad's Land demonstrates the legacy of Scientific Forestry, which contributed to the decline of forests and mobile pastoralism, reshaped traditional lands into a modern Mediterranean World.
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    • 1 hr 10 min

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13 Ratings

13 Ratings

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