Colloquium: Policing Passionate Women in the French Empire, 1919-1948

  • Date: Nov 23, 2021
  • Time: 17:00
  • Speaker: Jennifer Boittin, Pennsylvania State University
  • Location: online
  • Host: Center for the History of Emotions

The Center for the History of Emotions at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, led by Prof. Ute Frevert, cordially presents its winter semester 2021/2022 colloquium:

Jennifer Boittin, Pennsylvania State University

Policing Passionate Women in the French Empire, 1919-1948

This talk presents elements of Jennifer Boittins forthcoming book, Undesirable: Passionate Mobility and Women's Defiance of French Colonial Policing, 1919-1952 (2022, University of Chicago Press), by focusing upon the role played by emotions in the policing of but more importantly resistance to policing by women in the French empire. Drawn from Cambodian, French, and Senegalese archives, this work revolves around women of Southeast Asian, European, and West African origin, many poor and ill, who rejected patriarchal or racialized evaluations of them as “bad." Using police and security records to center women's voices within an imperial history of opposition, this talk presents a few case studies while reflecting upon some of the ways historians can write imperial stories about those who have left fewer traces in the historical record. The particular focus will be the value of analyzing historical sources and the links they reveal between passion and migration via the lens of affect, or emotion.

Jennifer Anne Boittin is an associate professor of French, Francophone Studies, and History at Penn State whose research looks at how colonial spaces in West Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean were shaped by gender, race, class, sexuality, and urban culture around the world wars and decolonization. Her first book, Colonial Metropolis: The Urban Grounds of Antiimperialism and Feminism in Interwar Paris (2010, University of Nebraska Press) is an innovative, intersectional history of radical interwar politics.

Her second book, Undesirable: Passionate Mobility and Women's Defiance of French Colonial Policing, 1919-1952 (2022, University of Chicago Press), tells the virtually unknown history of hundreds of women tracked by authorities because they were traveling independently. Undesirable's focus on how ordinary people react to being policed gives historical depth to contemporary issues of migration and violence.

Webex-Link

Meeting number: 2744 281 9226

Meeting password: M7pp22Y6fQj

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