Dr. Jack Anthony Gronau

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

“French Women’s Civil Society Activism: Civic & Political Struggles in Imperial France, 1897-1942”

My dissertation,  examines how French women’s civil society organizations participated in the imperial project, both in the colonies and metropole, and how the empire influenced their discourse and activities. A chronological analysis from 1897 through World War II positions three women’s civil society organizations—the French Women’s Colonial Emigration Society (SFEF; Société Française d’Émigration des Femmes), the Civic and Social Women’s Union (UFCS; Union Féminine Civique et Sociale), and the Union for French Women’s Suffrage (UFSF; Union française pour le suffrage des femmes)—within French imperial history, specifically the French-controlled territories in the colonial Maghreb.

Exploring these three groups’ activities and rhetoric within the French empire demonstrates that women’s civil society groups’ endeavors were not merely confined to metropolitan France but included appeals to settler-colonial and indigenous women in the colonies. This research illuminates dimensions of civil society organizations in Third Republic France that have often been ignored.

Works in Progress

2021-  “Politicizing Motherhood: Social Catholicism and Fascist Political Culture in the Colonial Union Feminine Civique et Sociale” (invited revision)

2021- French Women Face Empire: Civil Society and Politics in Imperial France, book manuscript

2022- “Explorers & Pioneers: French Feminists in the Empire,” The Remedial Herstory Project Podcast, (forthcoming in January ).

2022- “The Imperial Context of French Women’s Civil Activism,” World History Commons, a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funded website (Invited essay, forthcoming)


Ph.D. Northeastern University, World History, 2021

MA University of New York at Albany: History, 2010

BA Saint Michael’s College: History and Secondary Education, 2009

Research Interests

Modern Europe-Imperialism and Colonialism-Gender and Sexuality in World History- Empire and the French Third Republic- Far-Right Politics and Populism in France

About Me

I was born in New York, but I’ve been living in Boston for over a decade.

I received my Ph.D. in World History from Northeastern University in August 2021 and am currently working as a University Lecturer in NU’s history department, teaching undergraduate courses in World History and Public History, as well as digital Project-based learning courses in Immigration Justice and the Global City.

I am currently editing, “French Women’s Civil Society Activism: Civic and Political Struggles in Imperial France, 1897-1942,” for submission as a book manuscript.

I am interested in post-doctoral fellowships and faculty positions in history, as well as women, gender, sexuality studies. My future research interests will look towards issues of authoritarianism and far-right extremism, particularly related to the role of women and gender, both in the United States and Europe.

While in Northeastern University’s doctoral program, I taught “World History since 1945,” “Empires, Revolutions, Wars, and their Aftermath,” and “Racism and Racial Inequality in the United States.” I also created and taught the course “Gender and Sexuality in World History since 1800.” My dissertation research 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, including collections at the Bibliothèque historique de la ville de paris, Bibliothèque Marguerite Durand, and CEDIAS – Musée Social. I have also worked as a Research Assistant for Drs. Laura Levine Frader and Suzanna Danuta Walters, as well as a Graduate Editorial Assistant with Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society and the DHCommons journal, published for centerNet.

I love to travel and explore new places and different food, bike, read, listen to political podcasts, learn about wine, and spend time with friends.

Listen to an interview I did for the “Breaking History Podcast”

Emigrants, Prostitution, and French Feminist Writing 1897-1962, with Jack Gronau


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


2022 [Spring]

HIST2311 Colonialism & Imperialism

AFAM/HIST/WGSS 1225 Race, Gender, and Medicine

HIST1215 Origins of Today: Historical Roots of Contemporary Issues

2021 [Fall]

HIST1120 Public History, Public Memory

HIST2211 The World Since 1945

INPR1500 Immigration Justice

INPR1500 The Global City

2021 [Spring]

INPR1500 Racism and Racial Inequality in the United States

2020 [Spring]

HIST2373 Gender and Sexuality in World History Since 1800

2018 [Summer I]

HIST1170 Empires, Revolutions, Wars and their Aftermaths

2018 [Spring]

HIST2211 The World Since 1945

Grants & Fellowships

2021 Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Office of the Provost, Northeastern

2021 Project-Based Teaching Scholar, Office of the Provost, Northeastern

2017 Office of the Provost, Dissertation Research Grant, Northeastern; Lucille Zanghi Research Grant/Gillis Family Fund Dissertation Grant, History Department, Northeastern

2016 Pre-Dissertation Grant, Gillis Family Fund, History Department, Northeastern University; New England World History Association Travel Grant

2010 Morris Altman Research Fund Award Recipient, University at Albany

Recent Presentations


“French Women’s Civil Society Organizations and Maintaining Colonial Order in French Algeria,” to be presented at the webinar, ‘What Was Wrong With Colonialism, Really?’ American University in Cairo (TBA, Spring 2022)


“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.


“A Colonial Paradox: La société française l’émigration des femmes aux colonies and the response of French women,” 25th Annual World History Association Conference, Ghent, Belgium, July 2-5, 2016.

“A Double Erasure: Lesbianism and the French Women’s Movement,” Gay American History @ 40 Conference, New York, New York, 4-6 May, 2016.


“Politicizing Motherhood and Femininity: Social Catholicism and Fascist Political Culture in La femme algérienne,” 46th Annual Meeting of the French Colonial Historical Society, SUNY Buffalo, 28-31 May, 2020 (Conference canceled due to COVID-19)


“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.


“No Lesbians Allowed: Success at the Expense of Exclusion in the French Women’s Movement,” 24th Annual World History Association Conference, Savannah, GA, 30 June- 2 July, 2015.

“Writings to Reality: Alexandra Kollontai and the Development of Russian Feminism in the Soviet Union,” Fredrick S. Pardee School of Global Studies Conference, Boston University, Boston, MA, February 28, 2015.

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