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Caroline Ford

Professor & Peter Reill Chair in European History (1450 to Modern)

Contact Information

Office  5254 Bunche Hall
Phone  310-206-9607
Born in Baghdad, Iraq, Caroline Ford grew up in Europe.

She completed her Ph.D. in European history at the University of Chicago and taught at Harvard University (1988-1995) as an assistant and associate professor, and then at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada (1995-2004) as associate professor, before joining UCLA as professor of history in July 2004.

Her first book, Creating the Nation in Provincial France: Religion and Political Identity in Brittany (Princeton University Press, 1993) explores religion, nation formation, and the creation of regional and religious identities in France at the beginning of the twentieth century. It has recently been translated into French and published by Presses Universitaires de Rennes in 2018 as De la province à la nation: Religion et identité politique , en Bretagne, with a new introduction. Her second book, Divided Houses: Religion and Gender in Modern France (Cornell University Press, 2005), focuses on the feminization of religion in post-revolutionary France and its impact on the civil/political status of women as well as the creation of a distinctive laïc republican political culture by the early twentieth century.  Her third book, Natural interests: The Contest over Environment in Modern France was recently published by Harvard University Press (2016). It has been translated into French and published in 2018 by Editeur Alma as Naissance de l'écologie: polémiques françaises sur l'environnement, 1800-1930.  She has begun research on a new project, which emerged out of her work on French environmentalism. It focuses on the built environment, the city of Paris's housing crisis as well as the social and environmental dimensions of modernism in the sphere of domestic architecture in the twentieth century.

Caroline Ford teaches courses on modern France, French colonialism and the Algerian war, the history of Paris, modern European History, and European landscape and environmental history in comparative perspective.

A recipient of a number of awards and fellowships, she was awarded a fellowship by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation for 2011-12.

Selected Publications

De la province à la nation: Religion et identité politique en Bretagne 

Naissance de l'écologie: polémiques françaises sur l'environnement, 1800-1930

Natural Interests: The Contest over Environment in Modern France
(Harvard University Press, 2016)

"The Inheritance of Empire and the Ruins of Rome in French Colonial Algeria," in eds. Paul Betts and Corey Ross, Heritage in the Modern World: Historical Preservation in Global Perspective, Past and Present Supplement 10, 226 (Feb. 2015): 57-77.

"National Parks and Natural Reserves in French Colonial Africa," in Civilizing Nature: National Parks in Global Historical Perspective, ed. Bernhard Gissibl, Sabine Höhler and Patrick Kupper (New York: Berghahn Books, 2012)

"Museums After Empire in Metropolitan and Overseas France," Journal of Modern History 83, no. 3 (September 2010): 625-61.

"'Peasants Into Frenchmen' Thirty Years After" in a dossier on "Revisiting Eugen Weber's Peasants Into Frenchmen" in French Politics, Culture and Society 27, no. 2 (Summer 2009): 84-93.

Co-editor with Tamara Whited of a special issue, "New Directions in French Environmental History," French Historical Studies, 32, no. 3 (Summer 2009).

"Reforestation, Landscape Conservation, and the Anxieties of Empire in French Colonial Algeria" American Historical Review (April, 2008): 341-362. Winner of the William Koren, Jr. Prize, 2009.

“Eugen Weber: El historiador como Viajero,” Historia Social 62 (2008): 121-31.

"Nature's Fortunes: New Directions in European Environmental History," Journal of Modern History (March 2007).

Divided Houses: Religion and Gender in Modern France (Cornell University Press, 2005).

“Nature, Culture, and Conservation in France and Her Colonies, 1840-1940,” Past and Present, no. 183 (May 2004): 173-198.

“Nationalism,” in Encyclopedia of European Social History, ed. Peter Stearns, vol. 2 (New York: Scribner, 2001).

“Landscape and Environment in French Geographical and Historical Thought: New Directions in French Historical Writing,” French Historical Studies, vol. 24 (Winter 2001).

“The Use and Practices of Tradition in the Politicization of Rural France in the Nineteenth Century,” in La politisation des campagnes au XIXe siècle (France, Italie, Espagne, Portugal, et Grèce), eds. Maurice Agulhon et Gilles Pécout (Rome: Ecole Française de Rome, 2001).

“Story-Telling and the Social Imagery of Religious Conflict in 19th-Century France: The Case of Jeanne Francoise Le Monnier,” in The Moral World of the Law, eds., Chris Wickham and Peter Coss, Past and Present Publications (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

“Violence and the Sacred in Nineteenth-Century France,” French Historical Studies, vol. 21, no. 1 (Winter 1998).

Creating the Nation In Provincial France: Religion and Political Identity in Brittany (Princeton University Press, 1993).


Modern France, environmental history; urban and architectural history

Graduate Students

Lauren Janes (Ph.D. 2011)
Deborah Bauer (Ph.D. 2013)
Rachel Schley (Ph.D. 2015)
Roii Ball