Biography

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Mary Lewis specializes in Modern French and European social, legal, and political history. Her current research interests center around international and imperial history, with particular attention paid to the the connections between international relations and social or economic life.  She has taught courses on comparative empires, the Modern Mediterranean, Modern France and its Colonial Empire, European capitalism, and nation- and state-building in the modern era, as well as graduate seminars on method.

Her most recent book, Divided Rule: Sovereignty and Empire in French Tunisia, 1881-1938 was just released by the University of California Press.  Based on archival research in four countries, Divided Rule uncovers important links between international power politics and everyday matters of rights, identity and resistance to colonial authority, while reinterpreting the whole arc of French rule in Tunisia from the 1880s to the mid-20th century.  Her previous book, The Boundaries of the Republic: Migrant Rights and the Limits of Universalism in France (Stanford University Press, 2007) was a co-winner of the 2008 James Willard Hurst Prize awarded by the Law and Society Association for the best book in socio-legal history.   She is presently beginning a new project on the "First French Decolonization" in the Atlantic world.   Lewis earned her B.A. degree from the University of California at Davis in 1991, and her Ph.D. from New York University in 2000.

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

Profile in the Harvard Gazette, February 3, 2011. 

See also Mary's page on Academia.edu.