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Dr Stewart McCain

Programme Director - History

About Research

Stewart McCain is Programme Director in History. He holds a D.Phil in History from the University of Oxford, and he is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Higher Education Academy. Stewart is also the Reviews Editor for French History (OUP), and sits on the steering committee of History UK. He also convenes the Walpole Public Lecture Series in History at St Mary’s.

Stewart’s book, The Language Question under Napoleon, offers a new interpretation of the nature of Napoleonic imperialism, by exploring the linguistic dimensions of state power and the responses of local elites and administrators to Napoleonic language policy in the school, church, army and law courts.

Before moving to St Mary's in January 2016, Stewart taught History at the Universities of Winchester, Aston and Oxford. He completed his doctoral studies with funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council at Oxford, and was the RHS PJ Marshall fellow at the Institute of Historical Research in 2013/14. At the 2014 annual conference of the Society for French Historical Studies in Montreal he organised a research panel on Modernity and its Discontents alongside two other doctoral researchers from the UK, supported by a grant from the Society for the Study of French History.

Stewart’s teaching reflects his research interests, focusing on the Revolutionary and Napoleonic period in France as well as the history of nationalism, and the changing nature of war and conflict. He also supervises third year dissertations and independent study projects.

Modules Convened

  • War and Society
  • Nations and Nationalism
  • Liberty or Death: The French Revolution
  • Revolutions and Rebellions
  • Making Histories

Academic and Professional Qualifications

  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • D.Phil in History, University of Oxford, 2015
  • M.St. History, Distinction, University of Oxford, 2009
  • BA (Hons) History, 1st Class, Sussex University, 2008

Research

Publications

Books: 

  • The Language Question under Napoleon Palgrave, 2018

Journal Articles: 

  • 'Speaking like a State? Cultural Imperialism, Local Officials and Linguistic Particularism in the Napoleonic Enquiry into the Patois, 1806-12', French History vol.29, no.4 (2015) 
  • 'Justifying Conspiracy and Legitimizing Political Violence in Restoration France', Retrospectives vol.2 (2013)

Conference Papers

  • ‘Unequal Tongues: Linguistic Diversity and Popular Culture in Nineteenth Century France’, Society for the Study of French History annual conference, University of Warwick, July 2018.
  • ‘Cultural Imperialists and Culture Brokers: Negotiating the Language Question under Napoleon’, Society for the Study of French History annual conference, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, July 2017
  • ‘Celtic Remnants and Civilizing Missions : Popular Culture in the work of the Académie celtique’, Society for the Study of French History annual conference, Chichester, July 2016
  • ‘What is Politics? The French Case’, at the ‘What is Politics?’ conference, Maison française, Oxford, March 2016
  • ‘Revolutionary and Napoleonic Ideas of Conquest’, Europeaum seminar on War and Peace, University of Oxford, March 2015
  • ‘Modernity and the Language of the People in the Imperial Enquiry into the Patois, 1806-12’ Society for French    Historical Studies annual conference, Montreal, April 2014
  • ‘Mapping Language Boundaries in Napoleonic France: Linguistic Territory and the Ideology of Standard Language in the Coquebert de Montbrets’ Enquiry into the Patois’,  ‘Breaking Boundaries’, History Lab+ conference, IHR, London, March 2014
  • ‘The Language Question under Napoleon’, Director’s seminar, IHR, London. November 2013
  • ‘Language Conflict in the Classroom: Imposing France in the Alpes-Maritimes, 1799-1814’, annual conference of the Society for the Study of French History, Cardiff, July 2013
  • ‘Language and Empire under Napoleon: Marc-Joseph de Gratet Dubouchage in the Alpes-Maritimes, 1803-1814’ at the graduate workshop ‘The Atlantic World in the Age of Revolutions c. 1770-1830’, KCL, London, April 2013
  • ‘Francization and the Politics of Translation under Napoleon’, Translations in Transnational Contexts colloquium, Oxford, May 2013
  • ‘Linguistic Minorities and Education from First Empire to Restoration’, Seminar on the Long Nineteenth Century, Oxford, October 2012
  • ‘Language, Empire and the Law under Napoleon: Language Policy in an Imperial Institution’ at the annual conference of the Society for French Historical Studies, Cambridge (Mass.) April 2013
  • ‘“Le nom ignoble de patois”: Representing Linguistic Diversity in the Imperial Enquiry into the Patois, 1806-1812’, at the annual conference of the Society for the Study of French History, York, July 2012
  • ‘Autour de l’académie celtique’ BEROSE seminar, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, May 2011
  • ‘“That Mirth Inducing Accent”, the Language Question in Napoleonic France’, Seminar on the Long Nineteenth Century, Oxford, May 2011

Esteem Indicators

  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
  • Steering Committee Member, History UK
  • Member of the Society for the Study of French History (UK)