Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Brunel University London
Website URL
Alsace, Borders, Borderlands, France, Interwar, State integration, National belonging
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a historian of Modern Europe, and I have worked on various dimensions of the history of borders, borderlands, nationhood and the centre-periphery relationship in modern France. Before joining Brunel in 2011 I was Junior Research Fellow at Murray Edwards College, University of Cambridge (2008-2010) and Lecturer in Modern History at Birkbeck, University of London (2010-2011). In 2010 I was awarded the Etienne Baluze Prize in European Regional History. I have been a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for European Global Studies, University of Basel, and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

My first book, The Return of Alsace to France, 1918-1939, asks what happened when the region of Alsace returned to France after almost fifty years of annexation into the German Empire: How did France attempt to make this German-speaking region French? How did the Alsatian popoulation see themselves? What did return mean for the region? I argue that return was not completed when French troops entered the region in 1918,  or indeed when return was ratified by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919. Rather I view return as a process that evolved over the following two decades, and involved a range of actors inside and outside Alsace. In order to investigate the meaning of return, I treated the border as a category of analysis, and analysed the ways in which return was shaped and driven by the national boundary between France and Germany, which lies along the east of Alsace.

My work on Alsace led me to to develop an interest in where our ideas about borders come from, and this led to my new research project on the long history of the Channel Tunnel. The starting point of this project is that while borders represent powerful symbols of national identity and historical continuity, they have been imagined and reimagined in a variety of ways, and have functioned differently across time periods and political regimes. My new research project uses a case study of the Channel Tunnel to think about what proposals for a tunnel tell us about shifting ideas about borders, connection and cohesion in France and Britain during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. I will trace this history from the first proposal for a tunnel in 1802 to its eventual opening in 1994.

Recent Publications

Carrol, A. (2021) ‘Les passages de la frontière franco-allemande en Alsace après le tournant de 1918’, in Plyer, S. (ed.) Alsace, frontière et mobilités après 1918. Strasbourg : Presses Universitaires de Strasbourg.

Carrol, A. (2020) ‘Winemaking and the Politics of Identity in Alsace, 1918-1939‘. Contemporary European History, 29 (4). pp. 380 – 393.

Carrol, A. (2020) ‘Crossing Borders. The Making of France’s Eastern Frontier in Alsace, 1918-1939’. French History.

Carrol, A. (2019) ‘Paths to Frenchness. National Indifference and the Return of Alsace to France, 1918-1939’, in van Ginderachter, M. and Fox, J. (eds.) National indifference and the History of Nationalism in Modern Europe. Routledge.

Carrol, A. (2018) ‘The Return of Alsace to France, 1918-1939’. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Media Coverage
BBC R4 ‘Making History,’ BBC R3 ‘The Proms’, The Conversation (
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
France, Western Europe
Expertise by Chronology
Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Government, Local & Regional