Research Grants 2018


  • Jean D’ANDLAU, Fonder la République par la loi. Le comité de Législation de la Convention nationale 1792-1795. [Laying the foundations of the Republic with the law. The Convention nationale’s Comité de Législation, 1792-1795].

Thesis supervised by Prof. Hervé LEUWERS (Lille University, France);

The aim of this thesis – which takes as its subject the Convention’s Legislative Committee – is, on the one hand, to study in detail this fundamental cog in the workings of the First Republic and, on the other, to give ‘contour’ to the genesis of the 1804 Code civil. The député members of the committee were eminent jurists. In the turbulent years 1792-1795, these men (inter alia Merlin de Douai and Cambacérès, who became great civil servants of the First Empire) set about unifying, ordering and homogenising the nation’s laws. In fact, this committee presented three different civil code projects to the Convention (1793, 1794 and 1796), and it was these codes which were to provide the markers/foundations for the Code Napoléon adopted on 30 Ventôse, An XII (21 March 1804).

The study of this committee will shed light on a crucial link between the Revolution and the Empire; a juridical hothouse and a receptacle for the aspirations of an entire nation, as well as a community of jurists, citizens and legislators who had been tasked with laying the foundations of order and establishing norms. The thesis will look in detail at the daily meetings of the committee, distant as it was from the theoretical discussions and political upheavals so admired by historians of the Revolution. By taking the committee as its focal point, this thesis hopes to give a new perspective of the years 1792-1795, making it possible to understand better the genesis of the Empire’s legislative projects.

  • Nebiha GUIGA, Etre blessé au combat et soigné dans l’Europe napoléonienne (1805-1813). [Being wounded in combat and treated in Napoleonic Europe (1805-1813)]

Thesis supervised by Patrice GUENIFFEY and Sven EXTERNBRINK (EHESS, Paris, France and University of Heidelberg, Germany);

In the context of combatants’ experience of conflict, this thesis considers the fate of the war-wounded, above and beyond simply the moment of the battle itself. The campaigns of 1805, 1809 and 1813 are the context, the European armies are the examples (mostly Napoleonic and Austrian), and the specific subject of study will be the wounds received in combat, leading either to recovery or death. As I follow the trajectories of the people wounded, I will look at how the patients were treated, both inside and out of medical institutions, by surgeons and also by civilians, in the regions through which the armies passed. The thesis will be divided into three thematic sections: the wounded body; the treatment; and the source material. The wounded body is often neglected in the source material. Study of the treatment will reveal the European networks and circulation of soldiers of the period, often going beyond national boundaries. Lastly, in the source material, those involved write about themselves, in what are moments of tension between personal memoirs and reflections on the history and politics of the time. Such documents will include not only “Ego-documents”, namely, memoirs, collections of accounts, and travel journals, but also administrative documents, payments, hospital orders, reports and registers. I aim to create a database so as to operate both qualitative and quantitative analysis of these texts.

  • Francesco SAGGIORATO, La police napoléonienne dans l’Apennin septentrional : le contrôle des espaces frontaliers et montagnards entre l’Empire français et le Royaume d’Italie (1805-1814) [The Napoleonic police in Apennin Septentrional: guarding the mountain frontiers between the French Empire and the Kingdom of Italy (1805-1814)].

Thesis supervised by prof. Chiara LUCREZIO MONTICELLI and Vincent DENIS       (Università di Roma Tor Vergata, Italy – University of Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne);

This thesis aims to examine the institutions in the Napoleonic period whose role it was to perform surveillance of the mountainous frontier land between the Kingdom of Italy and the Italian departments annexed to the Empire. Following in the wake of the recent renewal in the study of the police, this study aims to analyse the different forms of social control and police via research into the relations which the governments of the two bordering states set up in their attempts to administrate cross-border mobility of goods and persons.

The innovative aspect of this research lies in the study of new sources, namely the consular archives and the archives related to the Italian gendarmerie and the customs officials of both states. Using these documents, it will be possible to get a new view of the reality of the conquest of these interior, mountainous areas on the edge of the Empire, areas which nevertheless were essential to the consolidation of state borders. The question of transnational cooperation between police institutions will form a central part of this as yet little-studied subject.

Finally, the study of these forms of social control (and not just those of a coercive nature), in the context of the diverse forms of Napoleonic state building being pursued in different Italian entities, will make it possible to ask the right questions regarding the policies for the regulation of cross-border mobility, revealing thereby the existence of largely unstructured and poorly controlled trans-state spaces and the local mountain folk who came and went in those spaces.


Minou Amir-Aslani Study Grant

  • Charlotte ROBERTSON, The evolution of the capital markets and the emergence of financial consciousness during the Second Empire.

Thesis supervised by prof. Jan GOLDSTEIN (University of Chicago, USA);

This dissertation explores how the French state and society grappled with the rapid growth and structural transformation of the Second-Empire financial markets, attending in particular to the ways that financial logics were reconciled with existing political and economic practices. The approach to this problem will be one of disaggregating the multi-layered financial world into the perspectives offered by several key groups affected by this transformation: entrepreneurs seeking initial capital and state authorisation to form joint-stock corporations; the extra-legal curb market of the Bourse known as “la coulisse”; the Paris Préfecture de Police in its function as a proto-regulator of the financial markets; journalists and publishers producing financial newspapers and investment manuals; investors subscribing to initial stock and bond offerings as well as speculators trading on the secondary exchange; and finally, spectators and critics engaged in moral discourses concerned with the financial markets. Methodologically, this work aims to integrate the history of finance with that of politics, culture, mentalities, and economic life. By adopting a bottom-up approach that concentrates on the experiences of actors who found themselves progressively enmeshed in this growing lattice of financial relations, this study, on the one hand, aims to expand our historical understanding of capital’s transformative impact on Second-Empire France beyond familiar narratives of industrialisation, urbanisation, and Haussmannisation, and on the other hand, to offer a fresh interpretation of the political economy of Napoleon III’s regime.

In 2012, the Fondation Napoléon and Maitre Ardavan Amir-Aslani agreed that, for five years, a Fondation Napoléon research grant would bear the name of his mother Mme Minou Amir-Aslani, woman of letters and lover of history. In 2017, Maitre Amir-Aslani decided to renew his support for Napoleonic post-graduate research for a further five years.

Minou Amir-Aslani was born in Teheran on 18 January, 1935, and died in Paris on 13 September, 2010. She was a keen enthusiast of literature and history, most notably that of the French Revolution and the First Empire. One particular fascination for her was the life of the Emperor Napoleon I and the role he played in the codification of laws and the organisation of the judicial system in France. Her birth in Iran at a troubled moment in its history inspired in her a determination to work throughout her life (spent mostly in France and Germany) for openness and the acceptance of other regardless of differences. She greatly admired the way history and law was taught in France; indeed, the tradition of French civil law heavily influenced the judicial system and positive law in her native country. And she had the utmost respect for university research. In her opinion, the only road worth taking was that of the search for knowledge, which in itself guarantees the independence of spirit and freedom of those who choose that road.


  • Jean-François FIGEAC, La question d’orient au miroir de l’opinion publique française des années 1750 aux années 1850.[The Eastern question seen through the prism of French public opinion, 1750 -1850]. 

Thesis supervised by prof. Jacques-Olivier BOUDON (The Sorbonne, Paris, France)

Intellectuals of the nineteenth century were greatly preoccupied with the Eastern Question, in other words, the fate of the Ottoman Empire, and this appears as the prototype of an international political subject in the eyes of French public opinion. A study of the mobilisation of public opinion over a long period (from the Egyptian Expedition to Second-Empire France’s intervention in the Lebanon) will make it possible to see the structures and dynamics of that opinion. The fact is, the ‘public opinion’ was never simply the passive receptacle of news from the Ottoman Empire but, as the crises followed on one from another, it became, firstly, better informed on the question and then increasingly public opinion became an instrument of pressure on those in power. Public opinion emerges therefore as an independent player in international relations.

Several approaches will be adopted with the aim of understanding this mutation. Whilst the history of ideas allows us to evaluate the different trends in thought regarding the fate of the Sublime Porte, these trends were themselves the fruit of networks attempting to interact with politicians. Furthermore, public opinion was not just limited to reading the printed press; pressure was also increasingly brought to bear on politicians via political action. Prefects’ reports, subscription lists, petitions, publishing catalogues and reading room catalogues, even private writings, all reveal the geographical and social extent of public opinion. The thesis will also frequently take into account public debate in the UK so as to identify the similarities and differences in the construction of the vision of two geopolitical neighbours, often rivals but also in certain situations also partners such as during the Crimean War and the building of the Suez Canal.

    • Kathleen MCCRUDDEN, Sophie de Grouchy and the Afterlives of the Enlightenment. 

Thesis supervised by prof. Sophia ROSENFELD (Yale University, USA) ;

This thesis concerns the relationship between the Enlightenment and the Napoleonic Era in France. It aims to analyse how the interaction between, on the one hand, Enlightenment ideas and thinkers, and on the other, Napoleon and his regime, led to major transformations in many elements that historians have described as central to the Enlightenment. In order to do so, it will focus in particular on the Marquise of Condorcet, Sophie de Grouchy (1764-1822). Wife of the famous philosophe, the Marquis of Condorcet (1743-1794), Grouchy’s own philosophy was deeply influenced by ‘enlightened’ ideas. Moreover, she was also the central node in a transnational intellectual network, which encompassed Europe and North America, and lasted from the outbreak of the French Revolution until her death in 1822. Using interdisciplinary methods, the thesis will explore the ideas and the political manoeuvres of this group; as well as the continually changing cultural milieu in which they acted. The aim of the study is to show that the Napoleonic regime caused important changes in each of these areas; and will thus demonstrate Napoleon’s crucial role both in bringing the Siècle des lumières to a close, and ushering in an era of Romanticism.

  • Roman MOTORNOV, Le concept de légitimité entre la Révolution et l’Empire : interprétations du régime napoléonien dans la philosophie politique du XIXème siècle [The concept of legitimacy between the Revolution and the Empire: interpretations of the Napoleonic regime in nineteenth-century political philsophy].

Thesis supervised by prof. Jean-Claude MONOD (Ecole Normale Supérieure de Paris, France).

This thesis will take as its starting point a conceptual analysis of the complex model of legitimacy constructed by Napoleonic power, studying the interpretations of this sort of legitimacy and of the Napoleonic state made by French philosophers and German theoreticians of the Napoleonic regime. Within the political philosophy of the 19th century, one specific vision of the Napoleonic state comes sharply into focus, namely, that of an ambiguous political regime, democratic yet simultaneously authoritarian. Political philosophy therefore offers contradictory interpretations of the regime of Napoleon Bonaparte: on the one hand, it saw it as an ideal modern state, and, on the other, it saw it as a violent dictatorship. This thesis will also analyse the consequences of the Napoleonic regime for the concept of legitimacy as a founding principle of the theories of state proposed by Hegel and Fichte and right up to those proposed by Marx and Weber. The thesis will also consider the strategies, which, according to those philosophers, were adopted by that totally new political order set in place after the Revolution so as to construct its new legitimacy, both at a national level (without breaking with the heritage of the Revolution), and at an international level (where monarchy remained the predominant form of government).