Monday, February 6, 2012

Call for Applications for 2012 NEH Summer Seminar on France's Haunting Past

2012 NEH Summer Seminar for College and University Teachers
“France’s Haunting Past: Debating Twentieth Century History and French National Identity Since 1990”

The NEH Summer Scholar Seminar for College and University Teachers, “France’s Haunting Past: Debating Twentieth-Century History and French National Identity since 1990,” is a five week seminar from June 5 – July 5, 2012. The purpose of the seminar is to explore and discuss four historical controversies that erupted during the 1990s and that shaped, and continue to shape French perspectives on the nation’s troubled twentieth-century past, even today. These controversies focused on World War I and its legacies of violence and political extremism, Vichy and French complicity in the Holocaust, decolonization and the Algerian War, and Communism and its crimes in Europe and around the world. Our seminar will also explore representative recent literary and cinematic treatments of the historical events that provoked these controversies, and visit monuments and museums in and around Paris that recall these traumatic events and commemorate the victims. Our seminar will conclude with a discussion of French efforts to come to terms and reconcile the nation with its troubled past, including especially the passage from the early 1990s up to the present of the so-called “Memorial Laws.” These laws continue to spark sharp debate among historians, politicians, and legal specialists.

The Seminar will take place in Paris from June 5 to July 5, 2012. Meetings will occur twice a week, with one meeting per week occurring at the Institut d’Histoire du Temps Présent (IHTP) and one meeting per week at the Centre International de Séjour de Paris, the recommended residence for participants during the period of the seminar. Summer Scholars will also take field trips at the end of the first week to Historial at Peronne, the national museum of World War I, located a few hours by bus from Paris. They will also visit the Mont Valerien on the outskirts of Paris, as well as other monuments commemorating the French experience during World War II. In the letter from the project director, you will find a detailed description of the seminar, its rationale and guest speakers and activities, as well as a discussion of logistical matters including especially lodging and meals.

For more information and to apply, please visit