Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Tulane University
Website URL
Modern France, French empire, French Indochina, colonial reform, historical remembrance
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a specialist of the social and cultural history of contemporary France and the second overseas empire, with a strong interest in historical remembrance. I have worked extensively on the construction of the French remembrance of the Indochina War (1945-54) and the Second World War in Indochina. Neither of these events have gained prominence in French public awareness as other conflicts, and yet there are the same mechanisms for promoting remembrance, the same triggers and catalysts, and the same high stakes for those most invested. In my work on the remembrance of the Indochina War, I reveal the intricacies of the construction of competing narratives of the conflict shaped by the overlapping contexts of global decolonization and the Cold War.

My current research examines colonial reform during the era of the leftwing Popular Front government in the mid to late 1930s. During its brief tenure, the government implemented the Guernut commission to evaluate the shortcomings and outright abuses of the colonial system in preparation for comprehensive colonial reform. The Commission, along with individual activists and organizations like the League for Human Rights (Ligue des droits de l’homme), provides insight into the evolution of reform movements and their implications for the republican imperial project.

Recent Publications

M. Kathryn Edwards, Contesting Indochina: French Remembrance between Decolonization and Cold War (University of California Press, 2016)

M. Kathryn Edwards and Eric Jennings, “An Indochinese Vichy Syndrome? Remembering and Forgetting World War II Indochina,” French Politics, Culture & Society 37 no. 2 (Summer 2019), 27-55.

M. Kathryn Edwards, “Traître au colonialisme? The Georges Boudarel Affair and the Memory of the Indochina War,” French Colonial History 11 (2010), 193-209.

M. Kathryn Edwards, “The National Association of Veterans and Friends of Indochina, the Commemoration of the Indochina War and the ‘Positive’ Role of Colonialism,” Hagar: Studies in Culture, Polity and Identities 9 no. 2 (2010), 30-48.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
France, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Colonialism, Migration & Immigration, Military