Learning How: Apprenticeship in France, 1675-1830

Collaborative Group

Professor Clare Haru Crowston, Professor Steven L. Kaplan




Apprenticeship, in the spirit of Marcel Mauss, is a “total social phenomenon”: an activity and an institution, practices and discourses that impinge on all aspects of social life, from the economic to the cultural, from the educational to the political, from the legal to the religious, from the ideological to the aesthetic. Conducting research in French archives and libraries, making use of apprenticeship contracts, police, judicial and guild records, philosophical treatises, and other printed and manuscript sources, the collaborators establish a multi-faceted approach that is a new synthesis between economic, quantitative history and cultural and intellectual history. This first-time collaboration draws on the scholars’ expertise in the history of work and guilds in early modern France, in women’s and gender history, and in the history of political economy and royal administration. This project will culminate in a co-authored book on apprenticeship in France from 1675 to 1830, which will be comparative on a national scale, long-term in chronology, and inclusive of methods from multiple fields of history. Award period: December 1, 2012 – November 30, 2014