"People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them"
-James Baldwin, Stranger in the Village, 1953

French women but not Citizens: Colonial Emigration, Imperial Prostitution, and the Colonial Press of French Feminists, 1897-1962”

I am currently a P.h.D Candidate at Northeastern University. My dissertation, “French Women but not Citizens: Colonial Emigration, Imperial Prostitution, and the Colonial Press of French Feminists, 1897-1962,” explores how French feminists participated in the imperial project, both in the colonies and metropole, and how the empire influenced French feminism, as a discourse and movement. It is framed as an analysis of a series of episodes within 20th century French feminist-imperial history, which have been chosen to highlight how French feminists incorporated the empire or “imperial issues” into their movement and their discourse for civil and political rights, how this differed from other European feminist movements, and how it was a reciprocal, constantly evolving relationship.

I examine the campaign for female colonial emigration, the regulation/abolition of prostitution in the metropole and North African colonies and feminist texts, material from the Union française pour le suffrage des femmes colonial branches in the Maghreb and French-language newspapers from Algeria. The project illuminates how feminists’ engagement with empire influenced their discourse and claims for civil rights and suffrage, how this engagement often revealed their paradoxical ideologies and perspectives of the empire, French nation-state, and their own civil liberties, as well as how underscoring how neither the empire or the women’s movement were self-contained, but rather, mutually influenced one another.

Listen to an interview I did for the Breaking History Podcast

“Emigrants, Prostitution, and French Feminist Writing 1897-1962”


Ph.D. Northeastern University, Modern European History (May 2020) Dissertation Committee: Laura L. Frader (Chair), Heather Streets-Salter, and Rebecca Rogers (Université Paris Descartes)

MA University of New York at Albany: History

BA Saint Michael’s College: History and Secondary Education

Research Interests

Modern France and the Empire-Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Modern Europe and the French Empire-Gender and Authoritarian Political Movements-Feminist and Queer Theory

About Me

Born in New York. Living in Boston for the last ten years.

I’ve taught courses on World History since 1945 and Modern Europe since 1789.

My dissertation research has brought me to the Centre des Archives du Féminisme at the Universitaire d’Angers, the Archives Nationales d’Outre Mer in Aix-en-Provence, and multiple sites in Paris.

I am spending the next year finishing writing my dissertation, while also pursuing future post-doctoral fellowships and TT and non-TT positions. I am also interested in research and policy organizations related to LGBTQ rights and advocacy, and, sexual and reproductive health and rights, both national and international.

I love to travel and explore new places and different food, listen to political and true crime podcasts, learn about wine, and spend time with loved ones.


“Féministes Françaises et l’empire, 1890-1962,” in Le bulletin de l’association Archives du féminisme. No. 26 (2018).                      

Grants & Fellowships


Office of the Provost, Dissertation Research Grant, Northeastern University

Lucille Zanghi Research Grant/Gillis Family Fund Dissertation Grant, History Department, Northeastern University


Pre-Dissertation Grant, Gillis Family Fund, History Department, Northeastern University 

New England World History Association Travel Grant


Morris Altman Research Fund Award Recipient, University at Albany

Recent Presentations


“Methodologies in Context: Analyzing Gender as a Cultural Production within History,” Roundtable: Reflections on Methodology and Archival Research, Contemporary French Civilization, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 29-31 August 2019 (paper accepted)

“French Feminists and the Maghreb,” 45th Annual Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society, University of Sherbrooke, South Shore of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, 13-15 June 2019.


“La societe française d’émigration des femmes aux colonies: French Women’s Colonial Emigration and the Feminist Response,” 43rd Annual Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society, Aix-en-Provence, France, 15-17 June 2017.

Thanks for visiting my page. You can reach me at gronau.j@husky.neu.edu