National Stereotypes in Perspective

Americans in France, Frenchmen in America


Since the late 18th century, when they first entered into an alliance during the American Revolution, the French and Americans have had a long and sometimes stormy relationship based on a complex mix of mutual admiration, cultural criticism, and sometimes downright disgust for the “other.” The relatively new interdisciplinary field of imagology, or image studies, allows us to place the dynamics of such a relationship into perspective by grounding its analysis firmly in the study of national stereotypes, in the process providing new insights into the mentality of the observer. For if anything, image studies demonstrate again and again that national character is not–as assumed uncritically for centuries–an innate essence of the “other”, but rather a self-serving functional construct of the observer.

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Acknowledgements William L. CHEW III: ‘Literature, History, and the Social Sciences?’ An Historical-Imagological Approach to Franco-American Stereotypes The Revolutionary Legacy of Two Sister Republics Doina P. HARSANYI: The Burdens of a Moderate Revolutionary Land: The Duc de Liancourt’s Exile in America, 1794-1797 Sarah J. PURCELL: Lafayette, Memory, and American Democracy Tracy N. LEAVELLE: The Osage in Europe: Romanticism, the Vanishing Indian, and French Civilization During the Restoration Nineteenth Century Societies in Perspective: Justice, Gender and Race Carlo COLATRELLA: The American Experiment in Criminal Justice and its European Observers Louis KERN: ‘Slavery recedes but the Prejudice to Which it Has Given Birth is Immovable’: Beaumont and Tocqueville Confront Racism and Slavery in Ante-Bellum America and Orléanist France Dominique A. LAURENT: The American Civil War in the French Press Jeannene PRZYBLYSKI: Visions of Race and Nation at the Paris Exposition, 1900: A French Context for the American Negro Exhibit Bess BEATTY: Outside the Narrow Circle: American Women in France in the Nineteenth Century Twentieth Century Societies in Perspective: Culture, Gender and Race Jennifer D. KEENE: French and American Racial Stereotypes during the First World War William KEYLOR: The Messiah and the Tiger: Woodrow Wilson, Georges Clemenceau, and the Cultural Stereotypes of America and France at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 Barbara ZABEL: The Expatriates of the Machine-Age: Josephine Baker and Alexander Calder in Paris Seth ARMUS: George Bernamos, Emmanuel Mounier, and French Catholic Anti-Americanism Patrick G. GERSTER: The French Connection: Raoul de Roussy de Sales and the ‘Problem’ of Love in America Stephen HARP: Advocating Americanization? Michelin in Interwar France Isabelle GOURNAY: Romance, Prejudice and Levitt’s Americanization of the Middle Class House in France Notes on the Contributors