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History France

France in the World

The Career of André Siegfried

by (author) Sean M. Kennedy

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Jan 2023
France, Historical
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2023
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jan 2023
    List Price

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André Siegfried (1875–1959) was a leading figure in French academic and cultural life for over five decades. A world traveller who trained as a geographer, Siegfried became a leading political scientist and prominent newspaper columnist. As a long-time professor at Sciences Po, he shaped generations of his country’s elite.

France in the World explores the life and career of André Siegfried. An innovator in the field of political science, he established himself as France’s leading interpreter of the English-speaking world. Often likened to Alexis de Tocqueville, Siegfried published influential studies of the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and New Zealand, striving to understand France’s place in a changing global context. Siegfried was a cosmopolitan promoter of liberalism and individual freedom. But at the same time he perceived France to be the core of a Western civilization whose leadership and values were threatened by Americanization, anti-imperial nationalism, and non-white immigration. By following Siegfried’s long career and examining the breadth of his writings, Sean Kennedy shows how his racial and ethnic essentialism was a unifying aspect of his life’s work. That these ideas were considered unremarkable for most of his lifetime offers a powerful illustration of how racist thinking permeated mainstream French republicanism.

Exploring the many facets of Siegfried’s career, France in the World examines the entanglement of liberal and racist thinking during an era that witnessed political extremism and a rapidly changing international order.

About the author

Sean M. Kennedy is professor of history at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton and the author of Reconciling France against Democracy: The Croix de Feu and the Parti Social Français, 1927–1945.

Sean M. Kennedy's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“It is too easy to view Siegfried as ‘a man of his time.’ Instead, Kennedy aligns Siegfried's eclectic and wide-ranging theories with a racial and ethnic essentialism that is linked as much to eugenics and racial science as it is to the soft prejudices of his class and era. Revealing this thread throughout the academic’s entire life work, France in the World makes a devastating, convincing, and important argument that transcends the case of Siegfried and can be widely applied to a whole generation of interwar/postwar intellectuals.” Seth Armus, St Joseph's College and author of French Anti-Americanism 1930¬–1948: Critical Moments in a Complex History

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