I am currently engaged in several research projects. I am writing a study titled White Freedom: the Racial History of an Idea, that takes a broad historical overview of the relationship between race and freedom in the modern era. Although the perspective is global, I focus in particular on the histories of France and the United States, not only the two nations I am most familiar with, but also countries for whom the idea of liberty lies at the heart of their national identities. In this study I argue against the notion that racial thinking is a paradox of free peoples, rather than our very ideas of liberty are racialized, shaped by the racial histories of the modern era. The book is forthcoming with Princeton University Press.
I am also working on a short textbook that takes off from my recent Transnational France. Tentatively entitled From Near and Far: Stories from Transnational France, this book will consist of short vignettes, case studies in the history of France as a transnational country. Ranging from the story of emigrés from the French Revolution in Ohio to the world of French hip hop, this book will explore how modern France has been shaped by a variety of forces and events beyond the traditional boundaries of the hexagon.
From a more long-term perspective, I am conducting research on the history of migration from the French Caribbean to the metrople. I am looking at period often overlooked by historians of the Antilles, that ranging from slave emancipation in 1848 to the departmentalization of Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana in 1946. During these years the residents of the French West Indies were French citizens, but their homelands were still colonies ruled from Paris. In my study I plan to explore this period as an example of “colonial citizenship,” considering migration to the metropole as a way of escaping colonialism and claiming one’s rights as a full-fledged citizen of France.
In addition, I am working on an edited volume with French colleagues on the history of blacks in France. Our book, Les populations noires en France, une histoire mosaïque, is forthcoming from Éditions Vendémiaire in Paris.