Thomas Dodman

Columbia University

Les Volontaires

As a Fellow at the Institute, I will complete a book manuscript titled Les Volontaires: une romance familiale à l’âge de la Révolution française (for the Éditions du Seuil). Part micro-history, part social biography, this book tells the extraordinary story of a young man raised to be Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Émile, and of his adoptive mother and step sister-cum-future wife, through the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and the early Nineteenth Century. While finishing this book, I plan to start research on two new projects: a biography of Ismaÿl Urbain, the mixed-race, utopian socialist and Muslim architect of an “Arab Kingdom” in colonial French Algeria; and a history of dust.

Thomas Dodman is a Franco-British historian and an assistant professor of French at Columbia University. His research and teaching focus on forms and experiences of social transformation in the modern era, particularly in times of war and revolution, and as seen from the standpoint of affects and medicine. He is the author of What Nostalgia Was: War, Empire and the Time of a Deadly Emotion (Chicago, 2018) and a co-editor of Une histoire de la guerre, du XIXe siècle à nos jours (Seuil, 2018). He also co-edits the journal Sensibilités: histoire, critique & sciences sociales (Anamosa) and directs the History and Literature MA at Columbia’s Global Center in Paris.

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