Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Harvard University
Website URL,
France and the World, Comparative Empires, Colonialism, North Africa, Atlantic World, Modern Europe, Immigration, Citizenship, Social History, Legal History, Economic History, Modern Europe
Additional Contact Information
All contacts carefully considered, but time constraints may limit availability. On leave 2018-19.

Personal Info

About Me

Mary Lewis is Robert Walton Goelet Professor of French History at Harvard University, where she has taught since 2002. Her work has examined the social, political, and economic history of France and its former empire from a number of different angles, including immigrant rights, which she explored in The Boundaries of the Republic: Migrant Rights and the Limits of Universalism in France, 1918-1940; the nature and limitations of imperial sovereignty, which she analyzed through the case of Tunisia in Divided Rule: Sovereignty and Empire in French Tunisia, 1881-1938; and, presently, the reconfiguration of French imperial and commercial endeavors in the aftermath of the loss of Saint-Domingue (today’s Haiti). Lewis’s research has been supported by the Solomon Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies Burkhardt Fellowship, and the U.S. National Endowment for the Humanities, among others. She is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively entitled “Transplanting Empire: France and the World after the Haitian Revolution.”

I also recently curated an exhibit on May 1968:

Recent Publications

“Legacies of French Slave-Ownership, or the Long Decolonization of Saint-Domingue” History Workshop Journal 83 (Spring 2017): 151-75.

Divided Rule: Sovereignty and Empire in French Tunisia, 1881-1938. University of California Press, 2014.

Necropoles and Nationality: Land Rights, Burial Rites, and the Development of Tunisian National Consciousness in the 1930s. Past and Present.  205 (November 2009) 105-41.

Geographies of Power: The Tunisian Civic Order, Jurisdictional Politics, and Imperial Rivalry in the Mediterranean, 1881-1935. The Journal of Modern History. 80(4) (December 2008):791-830.

The Boundaries of the Republic: Migrant Rights and the Limits of Universalism, 1918-1940 Stanford University Press, 2007 (co-winner of 2008 James Willard Hurst Prize awarded by the Law and Society Association for the best book in socio-legal history)


Media Coverage,
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
Atlantic, Caribbean, France, Mediterranean, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century, Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Capitalism, Colonialism, Diplomacy, Economic History, Law, Migration & Immigration, Politics, Race, Slavery