I completed my DPhil in 2010 at the University of Oxford. My dissertation focussed on the experiences of French railway workers – the cheminots – during the German Occupation of 1940-44. Using written and oral testimonies, official and unofficial documents, national and local archives, it challenged traditional narratives of resistance and deportation, and unveiled lesser known aspects of cheminot histories to give a more nuanced narrative. My dissertation is currently being turned into a manuscript, Ordinary Workers, Vichy and the Holocaust: French railwaymen in the Second World War (Cambridge University Press, c2015). Three articles are also emerging from this project.
My interest in the social histories of Vichy France has brought me to reconsider the line between racism and anti-Semitism under Vichy, which is far more blurred than one might expect. As a Max Weber Fellow I will be working on this new research project ‘Blacks in Vichy France’. By looking at black communities in metropolitan France under Vichy, this project seeks to better understand their position in French society, at the height of anti-Semitic persecution.
Whilst a specialist in Vichy France, I am also interested in 20th-century history, cultural history and genocide studies. Since 2010 I have taught widely on modern history topics, and have participated in, as well as organised, many conferences and workshops. I am currently on the committee of the Commemoration of the French Liberation 1944, an international event which will take place at the French Institute in London in June 2014.