France

Finding global history in the Archives Nationales

For anyone studying the ancien régime society of eighteenth-century France, the Archives Nationales in Paris provide an invaluable but not unproblematic perspective. Fastidiously classified and organised, the archives help the uninitiated to navigate and make sense of  foreign world. Yet they also impose a sense of order on to a society that was made up of a patchwork of corporations, customs and loyalties that were often resistant to the centralizing and rationalizing aspirations of reformist ministers in the service of the monarchy.

Culture Remixed: Professor Jennifer Cole Explores Marriages Between Frenchmen and Malagasy Women

Go to almost any family reunion, and you’ll find some of the same things: gossip and posturing, old photos and favorite recipes, brand new babies and aged ancestors. For anthropologist Jennifer Cole, these often-awkward gatherings are rich opportunities for fieldwork that offer a glimpse into the emergence of a transnational culture as it forms.