Call for Papers- Regime Change in French History

Stewart McCain's picture
Call for Papers
March 15, 2019
Subject Fields: 
Contemporary History, European History / Studies, Modern European History / Studies, Nationalism History / Studies, Political History / Studies

CFP: Changing Regimes in French History


We invite paper proposals for a day conference on the theme of Regime Change in French History.

The conference will take place on Friday 6th September2019  at St Mary's University in Twickenham, London.

Please send paper proposals of no more than 300 words, along with a short CV, to by Friday 15th March 2019.

We encourage submissions from scholars at any level. Thanks to the generous support of the Society for the Study of French History there will be a small number of bursaries to cover travel for postgraduate students. When submitting your proposal please indicate if you would like to be considered for a bursary.

Conference Theme


2019 will see a number of significant anniversaries in French political history; 230 years since the outbreak of the French Revolution, 220 years since Napoleon Bonaparte’s coup d’état of the 18th Brumaire, and 50 years since the rejection by referendum of de Gaulle’s amendments to the constitution of the Fifth republic. This conference will mark these turning points by considering the history of regime change in France.

Regime change has been much discussed by political scientists and scholars of International Relations, often in relation to democratization and sometimes military intervention. In this context a ‘regime’ has been understood as a series of formal and informal structures, or a set of principles, norms, rules and decision making processes, that govern the dispersal and exercise of political power. Regimes are distinguished from governments and states. A regime may endure a succession of different governments, while a state may itself witness a number of regime changes.

Yet in French, the concept of a regime in the political sense can itself be dated to the Revolution. The entries for régime in L’encyclopédie are confined to discussions of grammar and hygiene, and it was only as the Revolutionaries sought to define their project in distinction to the previous political order that the term entered usage as a synonym for government. The purpose of this one day conference is to historicize regime change as a concept, and we invite papers that tackle the following issues in the context of any period of the history of France and the Francophone World:

  • How were regimes and processes of regime change understood and described by contemporaries in given periods?  
  • In what ways has contact (cultural and intellectual borrowings, interactions of different kinds) with other societies shaped regimes and regime change?
  • How have understandings of regime change shaped relations with other societies, including in imperial contexts? 
  • To what extent have traditions of political contestation and transformation shaped later approaches to regime change?
  • How should we understand the relative importance of agency and structure in the context of changing regimes?
Contact Info: 

Dr Stewart McCain, Programme Director in History, St Mary's University, Twickenham, London