Past Event

New Books in the Arts & Sciences: Celebrating Recent Work by Thomas Dodman

January 17, 2018
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
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Maison Francaise, Columbia University, 515 West 116th Street, New York

SpeakersThomas Dodman, Assistant Professor of French, Columbia University; David Bell, Professor, Princeton University; Emmanuelle Saada, Associate Professor of French and Romance Philology; Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies, Columbia University

Discussing: What Nostalgia Was: War, Empire, and the Time of a Deadly Emotion by Thomas Dodman

From the late 17th through the late 19th century, nostalgia denoted a form of homesickness so extreme that it could sometimes be deadly. What Nostalgia Was unearths that history. Thomas Dodman traces the invention of nostalgia as a medical diagnosis in Basel, Switzerland, its spread through the European republic of letters and into Napoleon’s armies, its subsequent transformation from a medical term to a more expansive cultural concept, and its shift in meaning in the colonies, where Frenchmen worried about racial and cultural mixing came to view moderate homesickness as salutary. Thomas Dodman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of French. David Bell is a Professor of History at Princeton.  Emmanuelle Saada is an Associate Professor of History and French at Columbia.

This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required; please do so on EventBrite.

Thomas Dodman is an Assistant Professor of French at Columbia University. He is a historian of modern France and its empire, with a broad training in cultural and intellectual history. Their research has led from original interests in labor history, political economy and Marxist thought to the history of medicine, war, and colonialism. His first book, What Nostalgia Was: War, Empire, and the Time of a Deadly Emotion (Chicago, 2017) explores how people once died of nostalgia in order to tell a larger story about social transformation in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

David Bell is the Sidney and Ruth Lapidus Professor in the Era of North Atlantic Revolutions in the department of History at Princeton. He is a historian of early modern France, whose particular interest is the political culture of the Old Regime and the French Revolution. He is the author of five books, most recently Napoleon: A Concise Biography and a collection of essays entitled Shadows of Revolution: Reflections on Franch, Past and Present, both from Oxford University Press. In addition to his research and teaching, Bell writes frequently for a range of general-interest publications. He is committed to the proposition that serious history can be readable, enjoyable, and accessible to an interested general public.

Emmanuelle Saada is the Associate Professor of French and Romance Philology; Director of the Center for French and Francophone Studies at Columbia University. Saada’s main field of research and teaching is the history of the French empire in the 19th and 20th century, with a specific interest in law. Her first book, Les enfants de la colonie: les métis de l’Empire français entre sujétion et citoyenneté, was published in France in 2007 and translated in 2012 under the title Empire’s Children: Race, Filiation and Citizenship in the French Colonies. Emmanuelle Saada is currently writing a historiographical book reflecting on French and European colonization as a history of the present. She is also working on a project on law and violence in Algeria and France in the 19th century. She has published several articles on colonial law, culture and politics as well as reflections on recent French debates in the social sciences.

This talk is part of the New Books in the Arts & Sciences—panel discussions celebrating recent work by the Columbia Faculty series.

Sponsored by the Maison Française; The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities; the Office of the Divisional Deans in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences.