Citizens and Citoyennes

Required Reading:

Susan Desan, “Constitutional Amazons: Jacobin Women’s Clubs in the French Revolution,” in Bryant Ragan and Elizabeth Williams, eds., Reconstructing Authority in the French Revolution (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1992)

Katie Jarvis, “The Cost of Female Citizenship: How Price Controls Gendered Democracy in Revolutionary France,” French Historical Studies, 41:4 (October 2018)


Olympe de Gouges, “Declaration of The Rights of Women” (1791)

Seminar Topics

During the French Revolution, women discovered a new sense of empowerment as radical and democratic ideas of emancipation spread. Discussion will look at the ways in which women experienced the French Revolution, with special attention given to how women posed new questions and challenges for political participation and citizenship.

Questions to consider:

  1. Do Desan and Jarvis share the same views regarding how and why women were politicized during the years of the revolution?
  2. Why were female political clubs seen as a threat?
  3. What demands did female participants make when seeking emancipation?

Further Reading:

Joan Wallach Scott, “French Feminists and the Rights of Man,” History Workshop, 28 (Autumn 1989)

Sara E. Melzer and Leslie W. Rabine, eds., Rebel Daughters: Women and The French Revolution. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Dominique Godineau, The Women of Paris and their French Revolution. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998.

Olwen H. Hufton, Women and the Limits of Citizenship in the French Revolution. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992.

Joan B. Landes, Women and the Public Sphere in the Age of the French Revolution. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988.

Suzanne Desan, “The Role of Women in Religious Riots in the French Revolution,” Eighteen-Century Studies, 22:3 (Spring 1989)

Suzanne Desan, The Family on Trial in Revolutionary France. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.

Lisa Beckstrand, Deviant Women of the French Revolution and the Rise of Feminism. Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2009.

Sophie Mousset, Women’s Rights and the French Revolution: A Biography of Olympe de Gourge. New Brunswick: Transactions Press, 2007.

Lindsay A. H. Parker, Writing the Revolution: A French Women’s History in Letters. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Carla Hesse, The Other Enlightenment: How French Women Became Modern. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.

Katie Jarvis, Politics in the Marketplace: Work, Gender, and Citizenship in Modern France. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.