Why should historians consider developing new forms of historical writing, and of what
might those forms consist? This discussion of craft will explore how historians can draw
on literary and journalistic methods to construct and convey knowledge. Using brief
sample text, historian and writer Ivan Jablonka and journalist Brooke Kroeger will
demonstrate the practical application of specific strategies.
With Ivan Jablonka (History, Université de Paris XIII-Nord), and Brooke Kroeger
Organized and moderated by Hilary Handin (History and French Studies, NYU).
Ivan Jablonka is Professor of Contemporary History at the Université Paris-XIII-Nord
and a visiting professor at NYU's Institute of French Studies, where his residence will last
from January to March 2020. His scholarship on twentieth-and-twenty-first-century
French history encompasses children and orphans, the welfare state, Jean Genet,
masculinity, and the fate of his grandparents, Jewish refugees from Poland in occupied
France. Among other books, he has written Histoire des grands-parents que je n'ai pas
eus (Seuil, 2012) and Laëtitia ou La fin des hommes (Seuil, 2016), which won the
Médicis Prize, and most recently, Des hommes justes. Du patriarcat aux nouvelles
masculinités (Seuil, 2019). His thinking on writing history for the public stems from his
experience as one of the editors of the online multi-disciplinary magazine laviedesidees.fr
as well as his book L'histoire est une littérature contemporaine. Manifeste pour les
sciences sociales (Seuil, 2017).
Brooke Kroeger is a journalist and professor of journalism at the NYU Arthur L. Carter
Journalism Institute, where she founded and directs the MA unit Global and Joint
Program Studies. She has written extensively on historical subjects. Her book The
Suffragents: How Women Used Men to Get the Vote (2017) was the 2018 Gold Medal
winner in US History in the Independent Publisher Book Awards and a finalist for the
2018 Sally and Morris Lasky Prize of the Center for Political History. Fannie: The Talent
for Success of Writer Fannie Hurst (1999) was selected as one of the St. Louis Post-
Dispatch Best Books of the Year and Nellie Bly: Daredevil, Reporter, Feminist (1994)
was named one of NPR’s Best Books of the Year. Her other publications include
Undercover Reporting: The Truth About Deception (2012) and Passing: When People
Can’t Be Who They Are (2003).
Hilary Handin is a doctoral candidate in History and French Studies at NYU. Her
dissertation-in-progress experiments with forms of historical writing to provide a
sociopolitical history of the expulsion of Alsatians and Lorrainers following France’s
defeat in the Second World War. This work, written in the form of a first-person
historical investigation, reconstructs three families’ expulsion, exile, and postwar choices
in order to examine relationships between administrators and refugees.