Friday, December 6th, 2019 The Financial Life of Land in Imperial France, 1850-1914

Friday, December 6, 20193:00PM - 5:00PMNatalie Zemon Davis Conference Room
Sidney Smith Hall, 2nd floor
100 St. George Street


The nineteenth century was defined by the global problem of property. Focusing on France, a country whose revolution purportedly birthed a new, liberal form of private property, this paper explores the nineteenth-century debate on ‘mobilization’, or legal modes of turning land into a circulating value. It focuses particularly on the role of imperial entanglements in shaping arguments and experiments in mobilization. In the second half of the century a series of laws advanced the visibility and alienability of real property in Algeria and Tunisia, and it was here that France went furthest with measures of financializing land, experimenting with credit instruments based on real property that were long debated but never introduced in the metropole. Building on recent scholarship that has illuminated the legal transformations in property rights that occurred around the nineteenth-century Mediterranean, this paper demonstrates the degree to which these processes implicated metropolitan and imperial landholding in a common project of commercial and financial modernization.

Dr. Alexia Yates is Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Manchester, where she researches urban history and the history of economic life in Europe. Her first book, Selling Paris: Property and Commercial Culture in the Fin-de-siècle Capital (Harvard University Press, 2015), won the Wallace K. Ferguson Prize for Best Book in Non-Canadian History from the Canadian Historical Association in 2016. She is currently working on a book on the culture and politics of finance in modern France and as well as a text on real estate and global urban history.


Dr. Alexia Yates
University of Manchester

Main Sponsor

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


Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies

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