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Title:Nourishing the political body: Banquets in early Third Republic France, 1878 – 1914
Author(s):Kosovych, Stefan Dmytro
Director of Research:Micale, Mark S
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Micale, Mark S
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Chaplin, Tamara; Todorova, Maria; Mathy, Jean-Philippe R
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):French history
Third Republic
Abstract:The most pressing issues of the day in France and in Europe – the place of workers in society, women’s rights, republicanism versus monarchy as the form of government, and expansion of the French empire – were advanced at banquets, ritualized gatherings over food and drink. Drawing on the key historical success of banquets as a means of political mobilization during the prelude to the Revolution of 1848, socialists/anarchists, royalists, imperialists, and feminists turned to the banquet to strengthen their political agendas during early Third Republic France. In Nourishing the Political Body: Banquets in Early Third Republic France, 1878 – 1914, I argue that banquets became a critical site for the construction of political and cultural power and identity by creating distinctive, tightly-knit communities that bolstered a diverse array of causes across the entire political landscape. Using police reports, government documents, accounts of banquet proceedings, newspaper articles, letters, and memoirs, my dissertation analyzes four prominent genres of banquets during late nineteenth and early twentieth-century France: commemorations of the Paris Commune, royalist, empire, and feminist. At these events, different political groups promoted specific agendas that were always ideological, oftentimes subversive, and even revolutionary. Commemorators of the Paris Commune and royalists utilized banquets to promote their revolutionary causes. Imperialists and feminists congregated in order to reinforce the French empire and to fight for women’s equality, respectively. Because banquets attracted typically between 500 and 1000 people across the socio-economic spectrum, they also constituted an early form of mass culture in France. Banquets provided a culturally powerful forum for various political movements and thus became an important instrument in the key process of democratization in early Third Republic France.
Issue Date:2020-04-29
Rights Information:© 2020 Stefan Dmytro Kosovych
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-08-26
Date Deposited:2020-05

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