Valokuva Karen Lauwers
  • Unioninkatu 38 (room A107), PL 59

    00014 University of Helsinki



Tutkimustuotoksia vuodessa

Henkilökohtainen profiili


I am a postdoctoral researcher affiliated with the University of Helsinki’s Department of Cultures and its European Area & Cultural Studies unit since 1 September 2019. Until 31 August 2022, I worked on the French-Algerian axis of Josephine Hoegaerts’ ERC-project CALLIOPE (“Vocal Articulations of Parliamentary Identity and Empire”). Trained as a historian of Political Culture & National Identities in the Low Countries (MA, Leiden University) and modern French political history (PhD, University of Antwerp), I have a broad interest in Western European parliaments and discourse, democracy, representation, and citizenship, as well as “ordinary” people’s narratives and experiences of inclusion and exclusion, in the 19th to 20th centuries. After the publication of my monograph (Ordinary Citizens and the French Third Republic), I started pursuing a better understanding of France’s Third and Fourth Republican dynamics of empire, and the French authorities’ treatment of Muslim Algerians in particular. My current Academy of Finland project aims to do so by investigating petitions sent from within Algeria to the French Lower House and the latter’s subsequent responses (1870s–1950s). Influenced by recent trends in the fields of history of experiences and mnemohistory, my research contributes to them via an “apophatic turn.” By searching for “apophatic” performances and negotiated definitions of “unspeakable” events and categories in the petition archives, I am exploring how people from colonial Algeria experienced and remembered the paradox of belonging to the French nation without having its nationality.

Admittedly, letters to authorities are problematic sources, as they had clearly been subjected to formal requirements, imposed by rules and regulations of a specific national (in this case, legislative) institution. Nonetheless, the French parliamentary archives are surprisingly informative of the transnational cultural and spatial contexts that remolded the French practice of petitioning, until it was almost primarily used by (a specific part of) the Muslim population in Algeria. I am particularly fascinated by the key role, in this hybrid politico-cultural context, of the so-called Moorish cafés (cafés maures). 

(Find my full CV here.)


Western European political culture between microhistory and global history (19th-20th centuries); parliamentary culture(s); formal and informal political communication and interactions; political discourse and performance; history of democracy, representation and citizenship; political concepts and conceptual history; philosophy and theory of history; modern French history; French imperial and colonial history; history of petitions; subaltern political knowledge; resistance from below and from within institutional frameworks; history of experiences, emotions, sense(s) and nonsense; histories of the unspeakable and "apophasis" in the archives



  • PhD of History (University of Antwerp, 2019)
  • MA in History: Political Culture and National Identities in the Low Countries (Leiden University, 2014)
  • MA in History (University of Antwerp, 2013)
  • Pedagogical BA-degree in Secondary School Teaching of History, French as a Foreign Language, and Biology (Karel de Grote College, Antwerp, 2009)

Teaching responsibilities in 2023-2024

Koulutus / tieteellinen pätevyys

History, PhD, Negotiating the Republic. Direct interactions between unorganized citizens and MPs in France, ca.1900-1930s, University of Antwerp

Myöntöpäivä: 14 helmik. 2019


  • 615 Historia ja arkeologia
  • 6160 Muut humanistiset tieteet

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