Mary D. Lewis F'15, F'04

Mary D. Lewis
Professor
History
Harvard University
last updated: 7/6/2018

Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars 2015
The First French Decolonization: A New History of Nineteenth-Century Empire

“The First French Decolonization” examines the transition from a world where Caribbean slavery undergirded French mercantile wealth prior to Haitian independence to one featuring novel forms of trade, governance and exploitation within and beyond the expanding orbit of formal French empire in the later nineteenth century. Following the trajectories of people, companies, networks, and investments that abandoned Saint-Domingue/Haiti, it explores the new business ventures, trading partners, and relationships that emerged in the century following 1804, while also considering how the French government, haunted by the specter of Haiti’s successful rebellion, worked to maintain and expand slave-labor economies in Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Guyana until 1848.

ACLS Fellowship Program 2004
The Company of Strangers: Immigration and Citizenship in Interwar France

"The Company of Strangers" reveals the hidden history of inequality that lay behind the official egalitarianism of the French Third Republic. Comparing immigrant experiences in France's second- and third-largest cities, Lyon and Marseille, I uncover the social, economic and political relationships through which rights were negotiated on a daily basis. In this way, I reveal that in the 1920s, diverse immigrant groups obtained vastly different civil and social rights despite legal standards that were intended to ensure equal treatment. I also highlight change over time by exposing the relationships that worked to constrict rights in the late 1930s even before legislation was enacted with this intention on the eve of war.