Research grants 2014


  • Olivier BAUSTIAN : Relations commerciales du royaume de Westphalie à l’époque du système continental 1807-1813 [Commercial relations of the Kingdom of Westphalia in the age of the continental system, 1807-1813]
    PhD in History, supervised by Professor Jan THIESSEN (University of Tübingen – Germany).Unlike the political and administrative systems of the Kingdom of Westphalia, the economy of that state which Napoléon created in the north of Germany with the Treaty of Tilsit in 1807 has so far received little academic attention. Its trade policy, its commercial relations with France and the other states of the Confederation of the Rhine are at the centre of this thesis.
    The work will consider the efforts to modernise the trade conditions of a country with disparate traditions (such as patent laws, the abolition of trade barriers…). It will also deal with the customs operations which attempted to integrate the country into the continental system, despite the British blockade, and to keep it under French control (creation of a customs line against English contraband, the publication of the Trianon rate…) through the intervention of a Special Council in Hamburg, established in 1810. This strict monitoring suggests that huge diplomatic efforts were made by this small kingdom to derive benefits from the privileges of its protecting empire until the German Campaign of 1813.
  • Thomas BERNARD : Du sabre à la plume : le général d’Empire Fornier d’Albe (1769-1834). Vie privée d’un notable nîmois [From sabre to ink: General Fornier d’Albe (1769-1834). The private life of a Nîmes notable]
    PhD in History, supervised by Professor Jacques-Olivier BOUDON (Université Paris Sorbonne IV).Born in 1769 into a Protestant family of ennobled traders in Nîmes, General Fornier d’Albe began his military career shortly before the end of the Ancien Régime, after an exemplary education. Distinguishing himself in the Revolutionary armies of the south, he was arrested and deposed as a noble and a federalist, then reinstated in the army as an ADC of General Menou, whom he followed during the expedition to Egypt. Administrative functions in the Army of the Rhine, the camp in Boulogne, and then in the headquarters of the Grande Armée followed, before he crowned his career with the thirteen-month defence of the Prussian fortress of Custrin between 1813–1814. He brought back from Egypt and from Custrin two exceptional diaries which shed light on the role of the administrators of the period and the living conditions of the soldiers and the general population. An officer of complex character who had passionate relationships with his mistresses and expressed the force of a proto-Romantic consciousness, the figure of Fornier d’Albe allows us to study the renaissance of a family, the importance of civil and military sociability, the depth of reflection during the defence of certain positions, the impact of the governor in local power relations, and the errors Napoleon made in both Egypt and Prussia.
    This doctoral thesis draws on the sources of the Archives Départementales du Gard, the Service Historique de la Défense, the Archives Nationales and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, brought together around the private testimony that Fornier d’Albe himself wrote. Between history and anthropology, this thesis sheds light on his intellectual and psychological process, his relationship to money and to the body, to old age and to sickness, and finally on his political and ideological positions around the constitutional monarchy and the Napoleonic legend.
  • Camille DUCLERT : De la Révolution à la monarchie de Juillet, Edouard Bignon, un diplomate historien (1771-1841) [From the Revolution to the July Monarchy: Edouard Bignon, historian-diplomat]
    PhD in History, supervised by Professor Jacques-Olivier BOUDON (Université Paris Sorbonne IV).This doctoral thesis is a biographical study of Édouard Bignon (1771-1841), a Napoleonic diplomat who became, after Napoleon’s fall, a renowned political figure and the Emperor’s historiographer. Focusing on the period around 1815, the point of rupture in Bignon’s career, this study fills the gaps in the imperial historiography by privileging the path of a diplomat who represents three important features of the Napoleonic story, namely: the members of diplomatic profession during this time; the little-known institutions, such as the civil administrations of conquered countries where Bignon held important posts between 1806 and 1812; and the political evolution of Napoleon’s faithful allies after Waterloo.
    Based on unpublished archival sources in the Archives Nationales, the Service Historique de la Défense, and the Archives du Ministère des Affaires Étrangères, this thesis also incorporates the entirety of Bignon’s speeches and publications between 1797 until his death in 1841. Together, these sources paint the portrait of a man defined by the Napoleonic era, a man who was faithful to a certain image of Napoleon, an image which he helped to redefine after the death of the exiled Emperor on St Helena.
  • Bourse « MINOU AMIR-ASLANI » 2014 : Antoine RENGLET : La police des villes de l’espace belge de la Révolution à la fin du Premier Empire (1780-1814)[The police in the Belgian area from the Revolution to the end of the First Empire (1780-1814)]
    PhD in History, supervised by Professors Catherine DENYS (Université Lille III) and Axel TIXHON (Université de Namur – Belgique).This research grant was created in memory of Mme Minou Amir-Aslani, woman of letters and lover of history. The grant is supported and financed by her children.

    The history of the police has over the past few years been the subject of revived interest among scholars. Even within this fast-growing historiographical field, the evolution of the police from its ‘classic’ form as the principal arm of government in the city, towards a modern police force focussed more on security operations, remains little studied, most of all in the period stretching from the end of the Ancien Régime to the fall of the First Empire. Despite this, it is during this period that French territories saw the real emergence of a more autonomous, centralised and consistent police force on the institutional map. What were its practises? Was the establishment of French institutions in Belgian territory an opportunity to modernise the policing of cities there? Could the beginning of this process of modernisation already have put down its roots as early as in the 18th century?
    This thesis is based on the analysis of archival documents regarding the activities of urban police. This study includes archival data both from local centres, which contain documents about their day-to-day activities, and from centres on a provincial and, above all, national level, where the archives of prefectures and ministries are kept. This mix of archival sources seeks to illuminate completely new aspects of the municipal police. In addition, the comparative approach of the study, comparing evidence between towns, provides a wider understanding of the subject than would be the result of a study of only one place. This thesis focuses on the geographically delineated areas of the town of Anvers, Liège, Malines and Namur.


  • Mathieu CARON : Le Garde-Meuble et la Cour. Héritages et goût du mobilier d’Ancien Régime, du Consulat au Second Empire [The Garde-Meuble and the Court. The heritage and style of Ancien Régime furniture, from the Consulate to the Second Empire]
    PhD in Art History, supervised by Professor Barthélémy JOBERT (Paris-Sorbonne).This thesis examines the phenomenon of the re-use of earlier furniture in the alternately imperial and royal residences, as well as in the composition of the very first collections of decorative arts. Closely examining the purchases orchestrated by the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne under the aegis of French sovereigns, from Napoleon I to Napoleon III, and the psychology associated with this ‘recycling’, this study illustrates the strong taste of the time for furniture of the Ancien Régime after the period of the Revolution, and the restoration of the Garde-Meuble by First Consul Bonaparte. It also investigates the delicate position of sovereigns’ personal collections, clearly distinguished from the Civil List in theory but in reality mixed with public funds. The problems of the liquidation of the imperial family’s wealth after the fall of the Second Empire are particularly significant in the examination of this ambiguity.
    The concern of this doctoral thesis is to bring to light the birth of the ‘patrimonialisation’ of furniture and of historical spaces in the 19th century. At a crossroads of cultural history, the history of art and the history of royal and imperial families, this thesis presents the strong patrimonial links, as much public as private, between the successive regimes, from 1800 to 1870, and will thus explain a phenomenon generally neglected in nineteenth-century historiography.
  • Solenn HUITRIC : Les collèges d’enseignement secondaires : de la tutelle communale à celle de l’État [Municipal colleges: from communal to state care]
    PhD in History, supervised by Professor Philippe SAVOIE (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon).This thesis will be a study of public policy as revealed in the Napoleonic laws until the end of the Second Empire, and seen through the prism of the history of secondary education. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, public secondary teaching took place in two kinds of establishments. The first was the lycée, a state establishment which appeared in the most important towns. The second was the municipal college: this was governed by the community but remained under state control, notably in regard to the appointment of teachers. The teaching in both establishments was largely similar, the lycées serving as models for the municipal colleges. In the period from the July Monarchy to the end of the Second Empire, forty-five municipal colleges were elevated to the status of lycée.
    This study will undertake an investigation of these transformations and, through them, the educational policies of the political class with regards this issue. By studying the establishments themselves and the national policy, I hope to consider from several points of view the ways in which individual situations and the dynamic of ‘education’ interlocked. The variety of figures involved makes up one of the thesis’s central axes, notably in a period defined by evolutions such as the debates on the Falloux law in 1850 or the arrival of a voluntary minister during the Second Empire, Hippolyte Fortoul. The construction of a political education policy also then became one of the tools of the diffusion of political and urban issues of an age.