Professor Andrew Sobanet
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Book by Georgetown Professor Andrew Sobanet Spotlighted in Prestigious H-France Forum

January 6, 2020 – French and Francophone Studies professor Andrew Sobanet was featured in the most recent edition of H-France Forum, an online digital platform that promotes scholarly work and discussion on the history and culture of the Francophone world. Sobanet’s book, Generation Stalin: French Writers, the Fatherland, and the Cult of Personality, was one of only six selected for the Forum this year across all fields of French and Francophone studies.

About the Book

Generation Stalin: French Writers, the Fatherland, and the Cult of Personality,

Generation Stalin: French Writers, the Fatherland, and the Cult of Personality,

In his book, Sobanet explores texts by Henri Barbusse, Romain Rolland, Paul Eluard, and Louis Aragon to demonstrate how these individuals constructed an imagined and glorified narrative of Stalin that shaped public and political perceptions of the Communist leader. His investigation has helped shed new light on French literature and history, underscoring trends that are relevant in today’s shifting political and cultural landscape. Because of the quality of his research, he was selected by one of the premier organizations for French studies in the world.

“Andrew Sobanet’s recent book, Generation Stalin (Indiana UP, 2018), focusing on the previously unexamined Stalinist persuasions of four major 20th-century French writers and intellectuals, is a ground-breaking contribution to contemporary French Cultural Studies,” says the chair of the Department of French and Francophone Studies, Deborah Lesko Baker. “This volume features a broad range of historical, sociological, and narratological sources, and shines in the diversity of its research tools, in particular its innovative work with visual as well as narrative artifacts, and its unearthing of important materials from the recently-opened Soviet Communist Party archives–all of which demonstrate Professor Sobanet’s commitment to interdisciplinary, socially engaged work in the Humanities.”

Generation Stalin was also featured earlier this year in the New Books in History podcast.

Publication in H-France

H-France has 4,000 members globally and has become the largest scholarly organization for Francophone history and culture in the Anglophone world. This latest edition of the Forum begins with reviews of Generation Stalin by four professors from Dartmouth College, the University of Illinois, the University of North Carolina, and Harvard University who are well-versed in French history, literature, culture, film, and art history.

“Generation Stalin offers a pathbreaking new perspective on an under-examined (or until now misexamined) convergence of twentieth-century French culture and politics,” says Lynn Higgins, professor at Dartmouth College. “Sobanet understands his protagonists’ complexities and grasps the key personality traits that bring them to life for us, and his scholarly voice remains strong, engaging, and credible throughout.”

Collaborating Across Schools

Sobanet had the opportunity to respond to the reviews submitted by the four university professors, an experience that he holds in the highest regard.

“I was really happy to learn that my book had been selected for H-France’s Forum,” says Sobanet. “I’m very grateful to the H-France editors and to the four distinguished reviewers who participated.  It was very instructive to read four reviews of my book all at once, and I enjoyed engaging with the reviewers’ comments.  It was an honor to have the opportunity to participate.”

-by Shelby Roller (G’19)