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March 2019

  • Friday, March 29th Defending the Liberal Revolution in France: The Legislative Assembly and the Demise of the Constitution of 1791

    DateTimeLocation
    Friday, March 29, 20193:00PM - 5:00PM208N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
    1 Devonshire Place
    M5S 3K7
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    Description

    On 1 October 1791, the French Legislative Assembly convened in Paris, initiating the constitutional regime that revolutionaries in 1789 had committed themselves to establish. Within a year, however, the monarchy had been overthrown, and the Constitution of 1791 had collapsed. In explaining the French Revolution’s transition during this period from a moderate to a more radical phase, historians have emphasized factors such as the importance of the Flight to Varennes, the rise of the popular movement, and the dynamic of revolutionary discourse. Such explanations have tended to dismiss support for the constitutional regime on the eve of its demise as marginal, insincere, or irrelevant. Yet the advent of republican democracy in France should not completely eclipse the significance of the constitutional monarchy’s failure. This paper suggests that debate within the Legislative Assembly reveals not conflict between republicans and royalists, but a more nuanced struggle between differing conceptions of the revolution, the location of national sovereignty, and the importance of a written constitution. For example, the opposition of some deputies to the declaration of war against Austria on 20 April 1792 reflected determination to defend the constitution and the liberal principles it embodied. Beyond the Assembly, the paper also examines the departmental denunciations of the Paris crowd’s invasion of the Tuileries Palace on 20 June 1792. These addresses and petitions went beyond manifestations of loyalty to Louis XVI to express commitment to the ideal of constitutionalism. Thus this paper argues that there were many in France who still hoped to defend the liberal revolution of 1789, with its promise of individual liberty, property rights, and the rule of law, on the eve of a second revolution which would sweep away the Constitution of 1791.

    Bill Cormack received his Ph.D. from Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario in 1992. In 1995, Cambridge University Press published his first book, Revolution and Political Conflict in the French Navy 1789-1794. Since 1998, he has been a member of the Department of History at the University of Guelph in Ontario, where he teaches modern European history. His new book, Patriots, Royalists, and Terrorists in the West Indies: The French Revolution in Martinique and Guadeloupe, 1789-1802, comes out with the University of Toronto Press in January 2019. His current research concerns the French Legislative Assembly and the demise of the Constitution of 1791.


    Speakers

    William Cormack
    University of Guelph


    Main Sponsor

    Centre for the Study of France and the Francophone World (CEFMF)

    Co-Sponsors

    Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies

    Glendon College, York University


    If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

    Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.



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April 2019

  • Friday, April 26th The French Trials of Cléophas Kamitatu: Refugee Politics, Leftist Activism, and Françafrique in 1970s Paris

    DateTimeLocation
    Friday, April 26, 20193:00PM - 5:00PM108N, North House, Munk School of Global Affairs
    1 Devonshire Place
    M5S 3K7
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    Description

    In the 1970s, the French lawyer Jean-Jacques de Félice served as defense counsel for Cléophas Kamitatu-Massamba of Congo-Zaïre, who was expelled from France in 1972 even though he had obtained political refugee status. At the request of Mobutu Sese Seko, the French Minister of the Interior had censored Kamitatu’s critical portrayal of the Mobutu regime, La Grande Mystification du Congo (published by François Maspero Press in 1970). The Kamitatu case illustrates how, even as France ratified the 1967 Protocol of the Geneva Convention on Refugees in 1971, immigration, censorship, and late Gaullist era Africa policies dominated political discussions. The attempts to censure Kamitatu’s book published by a French publisher and to deport him despite his status as political refugee show how various facets of French government engaged with international laws regulating refugees and deportation at the very time that Jacques Foccart, who had oriented France’s Africa policy since 1958, sought to integrate Congo-Zaïre into France’s sphere of influence in Africa. Kamitatu’s story thus exposes the network of Jacques Foccart as detrimental to French civil liberties, African opposition politics, and international refugee protocols alike. The chapter draws primarily on Kamitatu’s legal case files in the archives of his lawyer, Jean-Jacques de Félice. It places cause lawyering in historical perspective, promotes use of the lawyer’s archive as fertile historical method, and considers state and non-state actor networks in a common analytical framework.

    Meredith Terretta earned her PhD in African history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds the Gordon F. Henderson Research Chair in Human Rights and teaches history at the University of Ottawa. She specializes in themes of African liberation movements, legal activism, histories of refuge-seeking, and human rights. She has recently coedited African Asylum at a Crossroads: Activism, Expert Testimony, and Refugee Rights (Ohio University Press, 2015). Her most recent single-authored book is Nation of Outlaws, State of Violence: Nationalism, Grassfields Tradition, and State-Building in Cameroon (Ohio University Press, New African Histories Series, 2014). Her articles appear in numerous journals including The Journal of Contemporary History, The Canadian Journal of History, Matériaux pour l’histoire de notre temps, Politique africaine, The Journal of World History, Human Rights Quarterly, and The Journal of African History. She is currently working on a book tentatively titled Activism at the Fringes of Empire: Rogue Lawyers and Rights Activists In and Out of Twentieth Century Africa. She is President of the Canadian Association of African Studies.


    Speakers

    Meredith Terretta
    University of Ottawa



    If you are attending a Munk School event and require accommodation(s), please email the event contact listed above to make appropriate arrangements.

    Disclaimer: Please note that events posted on this website are considered to be public events – unless otherwise stated – and you are choosing to enter a space where your image and/or voice may be captured as part of event proceedings that may be made public as part of a broadcast, webcast, or publication (online and in print). We make every effort to ensure your personal information is kept and used in compliance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). If you have any questions please get in touch with our office at munkschool@utoronto.ca or 416-946-8900.



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