Professor Kathryn Edwards specializes in modern France and French empire.
Professor Edwards is a specialist of contemporary France and the second overseas empire, with a strong interest in historical remembrance. Her book, Contesting Indochina: French Remembrance between Decolonization and Cold War, examines the French memory of the Indochina War (1945-54) by considering film, monuments and commemorative practices, veterans' organizations, and special interest groups. The book analyzes the construction of competing narratives of the conflict shaped by the overlapping contexts of global decolonization and the Cold War.
Her current research examines colonial reform during the era of the leftwing Popular Front government in the mid to late 1930s. During its brief tenure, the government implemented the Guernut commission to evaluate the shortcomings and outright abuses of the colonial system in preparation for comprehensive colonial reform. The Commission, along with individual activists and organizations like the League for Human Rights (Ligue des droits de l'homme), provides insight into the evolution of reform movements and their implications for the republican imperial project.
In addition to courses surveying early modern and modern France, Professor Edwards offers courses on the history and legacies of French colonialism (1830-present), immigration and identity in contemporary France, and war and remembrance.
Contesting Indochina: French Remembrance between Decolonization and Cold War (University of California Press, 2016). More information can be found on the ucpress.edu website.
“‘Democratic Colonialism,’ Citizenship and the 1937 Godart Mission to Indochina,” French History 37 no.2 (June 2023), 142-159.
“An Indochinese Dominion: L’Effort indochinois and Autonomy in a Global Context, 1936-1939,” French Politics, Culture & Society 38 no. 2 (Summer 2020), 9-34. Part of a special issue entitled “French Decolonization in Global Perspective.”
With Eric Jennings, “An Indochinese Vichy Syndrome? Remembering and Forgetting World War II Indochina,” French Politics, Culture & Society 37 no.2 (2019), 27-55.
"Traître au colonialisme? The Georges Boudarel Affair and the Memory of the Indochina War," French Colonial History 11 (2010), 193-209.
"The National Association of Veterans and Friends of Indochina, the Commemoration of the Indochina War and the 'Positive' Role of Colonialism," Hagar: Studies in Culture, Polity and Identities 9 no. 2 (2010), 30-48. Part of a special issue entitled "Decolonization Reconsidered: Rebirths, Continuities, and Erasures."