Mary Lewis is Professor of History at Harvard.  She specializes in Modern French and European social, legal, and political history. Her current research interests center around international and imperial history, the history of rights, and the connections between international relations and everyday local life. She has taught courses on European capitalism, French citizenship and political culture, French colonialism, and nation- and state-building in the modern era, as well as graduate seminars on method.

Lewis was co-president of the Society for French Historical Studies in 2012-13.


The cover of my new book, Divided Rule: Sovereignty and Empire in French Tunisia, 1881-1938, features caricaturist Candide's 1881 rendering of the French invasion of Tunisia. In it, the Bey of Tunis sits on the shore, and looks to Italy for help.  This cartoon encapsulates the sovereignty problem the French encountered upon invading Tunisia:  the bey had longstanding agreements with other European powers, and these powers would continue to broker influence in the protectorate long after the French invasion, a situation that residents of Tunisia learned to exploit, and that in turn affected how French authorities would attempt to rule over the protectorate.