The European Studies Council and the Department of French present Judith Surkis, Associate Professor of History, Rutgers University, speaking on “The Genealogy of the Great Replacement in Colonial and Post-Colonial France”
Speaker Bio: “I specialize in Modern European History, with an emphasis on France and the French Empire, gender and sexuality, and intellectual, cultural, and legal History. My research and teaching range across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, examining questions of sex and citizenship, colonialism and postcolonial migration, as well as critical theory and historical methodology. I welcome inquiries from graduate students interested in these fields.
My new book Sex, Law, and Sovereignty in French Algeria, 1830-1930 is forthcoming from Cornell University Press in 2019. The book shows how colonial law framed Algerian religious difference as a form of sexual difference and how Algerians worked within and against this legal frame. Progressively detached from land, the French colonial construction of Muslim law was bound to the bodies of Algerian persons and their families. This legal genealogy of French Algeria elucidates why “the Muslim question” became a sexual question– and why it remains one, still today. I have also begun work on a new project, The Intimate Life of International Law: Children and Sovereignty After Decolonization examines how population movements tested the boundaries of postcolonial sovereignty by focusing on international family law conflicts. Taking the case of the children of binational couples as a point of departure, I examine postwar transformations in kinship, women and children’s rights, feminism, and global legal orders in a shared analytical frame. I also publish regularly on questions of historical theory and methodology.
My work has been funded by fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study and the Pembroke Center for Research and Teaching on Women. Before coming to Rutgers, I taught at Harvard and Columbia.”