Jeffrey Ryan Harris

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frenchcolonialselfiePhD Candidate

Major Field: European History
Lloyd S. Kramer


BA University of South Alabama, 2009
MA The Ohio State University, 2011
MA University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2013 (History)

Research Interests

I am a transnational intellectual historian of France and French colonialism. My dissertation, “Inventing the People: The Struggle for the General Will in the French Revolution,” interprets the French and Haitian Revolutions through the revolutionaries’ competing visions of popular sovereignty and French nationhood. I argue that the Revolution was not merely a struggle between royal absolutism and popular sovereignty, but was the opening act in a contest of competing individualist and corporate versions of modern democracy. My work examines the origins of contemporary debates within French republicanism and Western democracies generally, particularly the present struggles between legal individual interchangeability and the challenges to it both from minority “communitarianism” and from the rise of the modern multinational corporation.

I am also working concurrently on multiple article projects exploring colonial interactions between French and indigenous peoples in early modern Louisiana and in contemporary Oceania. My work on French colonial America focuses on competing French assimilationist and racialist interpretations of indigenous peoples, while my work in the Pacific focuses on transnational indigenous resistance to French colonial ideologies.

Curriculum Vitae

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