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Past Ouisconsin Scholars

John Boonstra (2014)

Ouisconsin Scholar, John Boonstra, shared his dissertation research with WAA-France members on 25 Jan 2014.

“Circuits of Silk: Commerce, Colonialism, and Cultural Encounters between Lebanon and Lyon, 1860-1930,”

Through research into the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century French silk trade with Lebanon, Boonstra's project will examine how economic interests and cultural knowledge interacted to shape both capitalist practices and colonialist ideology. Tracing circuits of silk exchange from countryside and factory into the transnational marketplace, this research will investigate how the encounters of industrial corporations, imperial agents, and silk workers in both Lyon and Lebanon at once informed and drew from stocks of imperial knowledge. By interpreting business records and government documents alongside reports on labor conditions, local society, and cultural contact, Boonstra will evaluate how the history of French commerce with Lebanon influenced popular understandings of the Near East and the structures of colonial administration after World War I.

The ultimate aim of this project, in delineating the overlaps and contradictions between capitalist practices and Orientalist discourse, is to provide deeper insight into French imperialism as a simultaneously economic and cultural process.

Grace Allen (2013)

On 26 Nov 2013 Ouisconsin Scholar, Grace Allen, addressed WAA-France about her dissertation research -- "France’s Postwar Emporium: French Commercial Expositions from 1945 to 1975"

Grace Allen's project investigates how postwar French expositions forged transnational networks of commercial exchange and facilitated global conversations about the cultural, social, and political values that became attached to French mass consumerism. Following the Second World War France experienced rapid change, which included the establishment of the Fifth Republic in 1958, unprecedented economic growth, the creation of the European Common Market, decolonization, and cultural and economic Americanization. During the same period, as the French economy grew exponentially, so too did the number of French commercial expositions. With diverse themes that ranged from household goods, to leisure activities, to automobiles, these events reached their peak audiences, captured international attention, and exhibited consumer goods from around the world throughout this era. By 1949, for example, over one million visitors from France and abroad came to marvel at the innovative commercial products displayed at the Foire de Paris each year. French expositions, Allen's research contends, became spaces for French citizens to negotiate these postwar transformations. They helped make abstract economic change tangible, introduced an emerging “new” middle class to commercial products from around the world, and facilitated transnational exchange that brought foreign products and people to the capital while simultaneously spreading French economic and cultural influence outward.

Additionally, postwar expositions permanently transformed the physical landscape of Paris with the expansion of the exposition grounds at the Porte de Versailles—referred to as a “commercial city”—and the construction of the Centre des nouvelles industries et technologies (the inaugural building of la défence), the Palais des congrès de Paris at the Porte Maillot, and Paris Nord Villepinte, an expo center near Charles de Gaulle airport. Allen's research asks how these events, and the permanent imprints they left on the Parisian skyline, both refashioned and reflected the social, cultural, and political meanings attached to French consumer society and postwar “modernization” more broadly. How did expositions facilitate and shape France’s participation in an increasingly global postwar commercial economy? And how did they influence the desires and habits of a nascent “new” middle-class of consumers?

Aliza Luft (2013)

Aliza Luft, 2013 Scholar

Aliza Luft was granted a Ouisconsin Scholarship in the fifth-year of her PhD in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She works on issues related to state violence, political violence, and persecution. Historically, her research has focused on genocide and perpetrator motivations in Rwanda, but recently Aliza has begun to study shifting positions of the Catholic Church during World War II in France.

While in France on Ouisconsin and a Chateaubriand Fellowships, Aliza studied how Catholic bishops in France decided to ally with Jews and protect them during the Holocaust, despite past support of the Vichy regime’s anti-Jewish policies.

Besides her academic work, Aliza has served as a research assistant for the United Nations, the Southern African Development Community, and the Transitional Justice Database Project. She will be traveling for research in Paris, Lyon, Nice, Marseille, Toulouse and Montauban during the 2012-2013 academic year.

Erin Kunkel (2012)

In the summer of 2012, Erin Kunkel conducted research on the hydrological behavior of agricultural catchments in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. This project was in association to her undergraduate degree work in Civil Engineering at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

The fluxes of water within these catchment basins are significant factors in determining the impact of nonpoint agricultural pollutants. Studying the hydrologic fluxes in these catchments will provide knowledge as to which areas within the catchment are most likely to be affected by pollutants. Understanding these hydrologic fluxes also helps identify ways to remove these pollutants or control their flux so as to mitigate environmental and agricultural damage within the catchment. In addition, strategies for preservation and restoration of water resources can be developed.

Kunkel worked with faculty in the Laboratoire d'études des Interactions Sol Agrosystèmes (LISAH) using modeling system MHYDAS to study water and pesticides transfer.

Terrence Peterson (2012)

In the midst of the violent struggle over Algerian independence, the French military and the National Liberation Front (FLN) each sought to lay claim to Algerian Muslims and remake them as either Frenchmen or free Algerians. Both sought to effect this conversion by changing the bodily habitudes of Muslims. Peterson's project seeks to understand how the Muslim body became a privileged site for constructing political legitimacy in the Algerian War, and how this impacted wartime behavior.

Katherine Eade (2011)

Katherine Eade, 2011 scholar

In her dissertation, Eade is studying how perceptions of Jewish women gradually crystallized into the idea of la juive during the mid-nineteenth century. She examines how concerns about political depravity, economic change, and social mobility informed how the French public perceived Jewish women.

In order to understand how the emerging stereotype of the Jewess functioned in society, she is analyzing four Jewish women who contributed to the stereotype of la juive through their professional and life choices: actress Rachel Félix (1821-1858), socialite Baroness Betty de Rothschild (1805-1886), writer Eugénie Foa (1796-1852), and educator Julienne Bloch (1840-1868). These women varied in their religious practice, but shared a powerful ambition for professional and social success that forced them to confront anti-Jewish prejudices and negotiate the emerging notion of la juive.

Below is the full paper that Eade presented to the Wisconsin Alumni on 13 Oct 2011 at the Centre Médem in Paris.

Kelly Jakes (2010)

"Political authority was fought on a battlefield of national identity... music provided the authority to establish that identity." -Kelly Jakes

Kelly Jakes, a UW Ph.D candidate, was our pioneer Ouisconsin Scholar in 2010. She came to Paris in the fall of 2010 to study the rhetoric function of the popular music culture that flourished in Occupied France during World War II.