Elise Franklin

Assistant Professor


I am a historian of France with an interest in the history of gender, colonialism, and decolonization. Before becoming an assistant professor of European history at UofL in 2019, I was an assistant professor and Jamie & Thelma Guilbeau/BORSF Endowed Professor in History at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I received my doctorate in History from Boston College in 2017. 

I am completing my first monograph, Disintegrating Empire: Algerian Family Migration, Race, and the Welfare State in France, 1954-1981 based on my dissertation research. The manuscript explores the social aftershocks of the end of French empire in Algeria as they reverberated through the former colony and metropole long after independence in 1962. Diplomatic narratives of Algerian decolonization downplay the continuities connecting the late colonial and postcolonial eras. My research instead uncovers the slow unraveling of the Franco-Algerian relationship though the lens of French social aid associations and the Algerian migrant families they sought to help. The social welfare state and immigration regime both placed disproportionate stress on the Algerian family as an incubator for integration at the same time as the idea of the family itself - and underlying traditional gender roles - underwent remarkable reform. I argue that the twin pillars of the postwar French social contract, the welfare state and the family, transformed as a result of the continued migration of families from Algeria. 

I am also starting two new projects. The first is a microhistory of the so-called Perrou affair, in which the relatively anonymous Armand Perrou illegally placed twenty-five Algerian children up for "adoption" during the Algerian War. This study, born from a chance encounter in the archives in the wake of revelations about the United States's own child separation policies, will consider the relationship between colonialism, conceptions of the stable family, and the ethics and responsibilities of historical research. The second project is a longer-term study on family planning in France from the postwar to the present. 

I have also published a stand-alone article, “A Bridge Across the Mediterranean: Nafissa Sid Cara and the Politics of Emancipation during the Algerian War, 1954-1962,” in French Politics, Culture and Society.  A new article drawn from my book manuscript, “Defining Family, Delimiting Belonging: Algerian Migration after the End of Empire” appeared in a special issue of Gender & History in fall 2019. My work has been supported by the University of Louisiana’s Guilbeau Charitable Trust, the Social Science Research Council, the American Historical Association, and the Society for French Historical Studies.

I teach courses on the history of Europe, European empires, and France in particular. I enjoy offering classes and supervising students in gender history and histories of race and sexuality.

Recent Classes

  • Modern Families in Modern Europe (cross-listed with WGST)
  • Methods: Edges of Empire
  • French Empire (cross-listed with MEIS)
  • Sex, Race, and Rock & Roll: Multicultural Europe in the Postwar
  • World Civilizations II (Revolution & Empire)