Western Society for French History

Edward T. Gargan Prize

Awarded to the best paper given at the annual conference by a graduate student on post- 1800 history.



Awarded to the best paper given at the annual conference by a graduate student on post- 1800 history.


Edward T. Gargan was an engaged scholar who generously shared his passions for life with undergraduates, graduates, and colleagues in the world of French History. The son of Irish immigrants, Ed took inspiration from a childhood spent observing the selfless giving of his father, Tom, a New York City fireman. His stories of training at the High School of Music and Art, Brooklyn College, and Catholic University still evoke laughter and tears among those who had the fortune to hear the storyteller. His first book, Alexis de Tocqueville: The Critical Years, 1848-1851 grew out of his work in these early years. It is a model for prize-winning scholarship. Ed's personal and political struggles as a new professor at Boston College and Loyola University-Chicago added to his ability to nurture compassion and humanity in the scholarly communities he constructed. He moved from Wesleyan University in Connecticut to the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1967, taking a year between appointments as a Guggenheim Fellow in Paris.

As a mentor, Ed devoted his time and energy to developing the gifts, strengths, and talents of each of his students. During his years in Madison, Ed and Bunny Gargan were tireless champions of graduate and undergraduate students. They worked together, recognizing the necessity and fulfilling the promise of creating intellectual diversity and excellence. The women and men who completed their doctorates with Ed, from 1973 through 1994, and the countless others who studied with him, are part of his legacy to French History.


The prize given in recognition of Edward Gargan's contributions carries his vision and hope for our work in the future, and celebrates the best paper presented by a graduate student at the annual conference on post-1800 history of France and the Francophone world. The prize carries an award of $500.

Previous Winners

  • 2018. Caroline Sequin, University of Chicago, “French Women and Migratory Prostitution across the French Atlantic, 1910s-1930s.”
  • 2017. Yan Slobodkin, Stanford University, "Famine and the Science of Nutrition in the French Empire."
  • 2016. Alexandra Steinlight, "Archiving Experience: 'Living Testimony' and the Reconstruction of France’s Wartime Documents, 1944-1952."
  • 2015. Emily Marker, University of Chicago. "Scoutisme in the Sahara: Youth Policy in French Africa and the Transformation of Laïcité in Postwar Greater France."
  • 2014. Whitney Abernathy, Boston College. "Religion, Sexuality, Power: The French in Morocco, 1900-1914."
  • 2013. Mark Braude, University of Southern California. "Prince Rainier of Monaco and Princess Grace of Hollywood: Myth, Media, and the Wedding of the Century."
  • 2012. Jessie Hewitt, University of California-Davis. "Psychiatric Authority and the Uses of Honor in Post-Revolutionary France."
  • 2012. Honorable Mention: Deborah S. Bauer, UCLA. "Georges Boulanger: The Third Republic's Spy Master?"
  • 2011. Eric Brandom, Duke University. "Georges Sorel, Emile Durkheim, and the Social Foundations of la Morale."
  • 2010. Adam Zientek, Stanford University. "Le Père de la victoire: French Colonial Alcohol Policy on the Western Front, 1914-1918."
  • 2009. Alexia Yates, Univeristy of Chicago. "C'est comme ça que vous entendez les affaires? Gogos and the Moral Parameters of the Marketplace in Nineteenth-Century France."
  • 2008. Guillaume Ratel, Cornell University. "An Engineer in the Judicial Maze: Space and Practice in the Parlement de Toulouse, 1550-1778."
  • 2007. C. Keiko Matteson, Yale Univeristy. "'Mauvais Citoyens' and 'Dents Meurtrières:' Goats into Frenchmen, 1789-1827."
  • 2006. Howard Padwa, UCLA. "National Security and Narcotics Control in France, 1907-1920."
  • 2005. Sean Takats, University of Michigan. "Domestic Expertise: Literacy and Numeracy in the Eighteenth-Century Kitchen."
  • 2004. Rebecca Pulju, Univeristy of Iowa. "Changing Homes, Changing Lives: Material Conditions, Women's Demands, and Consumer Society in Post-World War II France."
  • 2002. Claire Salinas, Stanford University. "Les Non-classées: Colonial Emigration, Gender, and Republican Liberalism, 1897-1900."
  • 2001. Nina Kushner, Columbia University. "Procuring Mothers, Sacrificed Daughters, and 'Helpful' Policemen: The Elite Prostitute as Family Breadwinner in Eighteenth-Century Paris."
  • 1998. Jennifer Sartori, Emory University. "Wanted: A Jewish Governess: The Education of Middle-Class Jewish Girls in Nineteenth-Century Paris."
  • 1997. Michael Vann, University of California-Santa Cruz. "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Variation and Difference in French Racism in Colonial Indochina."
  • 1996. Cherilyn Lacy, University of Chicago. "Science or Savoir-Faire? Domestic Hygiene and Medicine in Girls' Public Education During the Early French Third Republic, 1882-1914."