Associate Professor, History Department, Bowdoin College
Area of Research: The French Revolution, modern France, the 18th century and the birth of the"age of reason"-the concept of modernity and its critics, and crime and punishment in modern Europe.
Education: Ph.D. in History, May 1995, University of California at Berkeley
Major Publications: Friedland is the author of Political Actors: Representative Bodies and Theatricality in the Age of the French Revolution (Cornell University Press, 2002) which was awarded the 2003 David Pinkney Prize and"Parallel Stages: Theatrical and Political Representation in Early Modern and Revolutionary France" in The Age of Cultural Revolutions: Britain and France, 1750-1820 , edited by Dror Wahrman and Colin Jones (University of California Press, 2002). Friedland is currently completing a manuscript tentatively entitled"Seeing Justice Done: The Theory and Practice of Spectacular Punishment in Old Regime and Revolutionary France."
Awards: Friedland is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including:
David Pinkney Prize, Society for French Historical Studies. For best book of 2002 by a North American scholar in any field of French history (April, 2003);
ACLS Fellowship (January - December 2006);
NEH Fellowship (August, 2005 - May, 2006);
NEH Fellow, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton NJ (1997-98);
Newberry Library\Loyola University Summer Research Grant (Summer, 1996);
Mellon Foundation Dissertation Write-Up Fellowship (1994-95);
Bicentennial Fellowship (French-American Foundation award for dissertation research in France, 1991-92);
Fulbright Grant, finalist (declined, 1991-92);
Ehrman Fellowship (U.C. Berkeley, 1989-90);
Council of European Studies Pre-dissertation Research Grant (Summer, 1989);
University Fellowship, University of Chicago (1987-88).
Formerly Assistant Professor, History Department, Loyola University of Chicago. (1995-1997), and Instructor, History Department, University of California at Berkeley. (1993, 1994).
Member, School of Social Science, Institute for Advanced Study; Princeton, New Jersey. (1997-1998)
My Heroic Participation in the Revolution of 1991
As someone who studies the French Revolution, I've often found myself wondering what I might have done if fate had put me on this planet two centuries earlier and in the general vicinity of Paris. I don't think I would have been one of the more extreme revolutionaries who were constantly demanding blood and heads. No, I think someone a bit more genteel would have been my style- someone like Camille Desmoulins, who could harangue the masses as well as anyone, but who still received plenty of dinner invitations.
The truth is, though, that I got a pretty good inkling what kind of revolutionary I might have made about fifteen years ago. And I'm not sure Desmoulins would have been proud of me.
The year was 1991, and my soon-to-be-wife and I were on a pre-honeymoon trip to Russia. She happens to be a Russian historian, and I had spent a semester in Leningrad (now, as I result of the mini-revolution in which I was about to play a glorious role, St. Petersburg). So, Russia was a place we both had ties to, and seemed a natural enough place to have a pre-honeymoon.
We had taken an overnight train from Moscow to Leningrad, and arrived in the city, tired and a little dazed. Maybe that's why neither of us noticed anything unusual as we made our way to the Astoria hotel. The Astoria, by the way, is a grand old hotel where Hitler, a little too optimistically, had planned to throw his victory party once he had conquered the city. My wife and I thought we'd use the excuse of a pre-honeymoon to weasel the extra cash out of our parents so that we could stay somewhere just a bit more swanky than our usual graduate-student lodgings.
In retrospect, I should have known that something was up when I went down to the front desk to complain about our dismal room with a view of the air shaft. I was all ready to go into a song and dance about our pre-honeymoon and all that, but the clerk just gave me a dazed look and forked over the key to a nicer room with a view of the square. No discussion. No argument. Now that sort of thing never happened in the old Soviet Union.
As soon as we'd deposited our luggage in the new, nicer room, I flipped on the TV."Hey," I said to my wife,"There's something wrong with the TV. Swan Lake is on every channel." She tried the remote, and sure enough, no matter what channel we tried, it was Swan Lake. We tried the radio: Triumphal, patriotic music was on every station. It was then that we noticed that people had begun to mass on the square below our hotel room (a square that just happened to house the offices of the city government). Suddenly, a voice came on the radio. My Russian wasn't good enough to grasp every word, but the gist of it was: “Citizens, all is secure. Everything is under control. Have faith in the government which will restore order and security.” We looked at each other. Something was up. We flung open the windows and began reading the hastily-written signs that people were carrying: “No to totalitarianism,” “Freedom & Democracy.” “We won't go back!” And then, as if on cue, a man on a white horse rode into the square waving an enormous tricolor flag - now, the flag of the Russian Federation, but then a strange anachronism. I had never seen it before, and with my expert knowledge of flags and history, I immediately informed my wife that the Dutch had invaded the Soviet Union. I think she just hushed me, not bothering to explain that the pre-Revolutionary Russian flag had been designed by Peter the Great on the model of the Dutch flag, but with the colors in a slightly different order.
I'll make a long, story short: Within minutes we were out in the square, and were told by gathering protesters that Gorbachev had been kidnapped by hard-liners who were attempting to restore the old order and end his experiment with glasnost."We will not go back," a young man explained to us."We will fight. We will revolt." He had said the magic word. The wheels in my brain started turning. “It's a revolution!” I screamed to my wife. And then I added"Follow me!" She had no intention of following me, of course, because there we were on the main square of Leningrad at the very center of political activity, and there was nowhere I could possibly go where she might want to follow. I looked around the square trying to figure out how I might effectively harangue the masses (this was going to be difficult, as I had a bad habit of confusing the Russian words for"freedom" and"Saturday." But I thought I could pull it off). It was then that I noticed that a portion of the crowd was busy constructing barricades. They had overturned cars and buses, and were busy planning to protect the square from army troops that were rumored to be on their way. This really was my chance! It was July 1789 all over again: Army troops on the outskirts, ready to invade the city. A populace desperate for freedom from tyranny, massed on the public square just waiting for a leader to show them the way. This was my cue. I just needed to find a high spot and start talking. I gathered my thoughts: No to authority! Yes to Saturday! etc. etc. My wife was making her way to the barricades, talking to people, reveling in the moment. And I, I.... I had begun to wonder: If the troops came in, then all the stores would probably close. And I was almost out of saline solution for my contact lenses. Now, you might think this is a trivial detail, but I had forgotten to bring a pair of glasses. And I'm fairly near-sighted. So really, it was pretty important. Okay, maybe not of urgent, revolutionary importance, but not exactly irrelevant. So, that is the background of how it came to pass that I found myself shouting up to my wife, as she clambered on top of the barricades in the middle of a revolution,"Wait, I need to go find saline solution before the stores close." Her look of complete, withering disdain brought home to me the fact that I was probably not destined to be a latter-day Camille Desmoulins. (She married me anyway, and we now have four kids, so I'm guessing the disdain wasn't as complete and withering at it seemed on that August day).
I did learn a few things that day. I learned that when you're in an enormous crowd being harangued by speakers (speakers who apparently do not wear contacts, and so have the luxury of being able to drone on and on without a care in the world), that you can't actually hear anything. All those people seemingly cheering and shouting in approval? It's just a lot of people asking simultaneously “What did they say?” And I learned that, for the most part, in the middle of a revolution, you don't really have any clue what's going on. We managed to find someone with a satellite connection, and marveled at CNN's ability, thousands of miles away in Atlanta, to give seeming coherence to the chaos and confusion that surrounded us. The truth is that if nobody really knows what's going on, you can spin events as you like, and no one can actually contradict you.
And, sad to say, I guess I learned that I'm probably a better student of revolutions than a maker of them. I do console myself, though, with the thought that it didn't turn out to be a real revolution in the end. I think the Russians now commemorate the events of August 21 as “flag day.” But who's to say that if I'd had plenty of saline solution on hand or had remembered to pack my glasses in the first place, that I wouldn't have found my audience. If things had played themselves out just a little differently, Russia today might be the only place in the world with a week full of Saturdays.
By Paul Friedland
.... [But] this is not ... the story of how wily politicians hoodwinked the French people into believing that they were being freed, even as they laid the foundation for oppression. In fact, I am certain that no one was more convinced of the Revolution's rhetoric of liberty, justice, and natural rights than the very people who spoke the words. And as for those who found themselves excluded from a political process performed in their name, they seemed only dimly aware of the fact that they had been removed from the political stage. The problem, then, is decidedly more complex than one that can be explained according to the simple dynamic of oppressors and oppressed. This utter conviction on the part of the political actors that they were the servants of the people, and were acting in their best interest; this willingness on the part of the political audience to sit back and partake vicariously in action from which they had been excluded; and the impenetrable yet invisible wall that divided these actors and these spectators -- all of this seems to have very little to do with outright political subjugation. This is not oppression; this is theater." -- Paul Friedland in"Political Actors: Representative Bodies and Theatricality in the Age of the French Revolution"
About Paul Friedland
Associate Professor of History, Princeton University
Area of Research: political, social, and urban/suburban history of 20th-century America, with particular interest in the making of modern conservatism. Focused on conflicts over race, rights, and religion, he also studies the postwar South and modern suburbia.
Education: 2000 Ph.D., History, Cornell University
Major Publications: Kruse is the author of White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism (Princeton University Press, 2005), a recent selection for the Holiday Book List of The New Republic. He is also co-editor of The New Suburban History (University of Chicago Press, 2006) with Thomas J. Sugrue. He is currently co-editing two additional collections now under review -- one on global urban history and another on the impact of the Second World War on the civil rights movement. He is also working on a new research project, titled One Nation Under God: Cold War Christianity and the Origins of the Religious Right.
Awards: Kruse is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including:
2006-2008, Behrman Fellowship in the Humanities, Princeton University;
2003-2006, David L. Rike University Preceptorship in History, Princeton University ;
2002, Spencer Foundation, Research Grant;
1999-2000, Andrew Mellon Dissertation Fellowship;
1998, Ihlder Fellowship, Cornell University;
1998, Hughes-Gossett Prize, Supreme Court Historical Society;
1998, John S. Knight Prize for Freshman Writing Seminars, Cornell University;
1998, Industrial and Labor Relations Fellowship, Cornell University;
1997, Andrew Mellon Fellowship;
1994-1995, Henry Sage Fellowship, Cornell University;
1993, Phi Beta Kappa.
Kruse is affiliated with Princeton University's Program in Law and Public Affairs, a joint venture of the Politics Department, the University Center for Human Values, and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Manuscript Referee for Bedford/St. Martin's Press, University of Chicago Press.
Articles Referee for Journal of American History Book Reviewer for"American Historical Review,""Journal of American History,""Reviews in American History,""Journal of Southern History,""Social History,""American Journal of Legal History."
As two years of dissertation research in Atlanta came to a close, I realized that I still hadn't conducted a single interview. Oral histories were all the rage at the time, and as a result, no matter how much great material I found in manuscript collections and government archives, I still felt I hadn't done enough.
Now, in my defense, I had always wanted to interview the segregationists at the heart of my story. But they apparently had other plans. A few refused to return my letters and calls, while a disturbingly large number chose death before the dishonor of meeting me. The Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, most notably, passed away weeks before I moved to Atlanta. In my early research, I'd discovered that, when he wasn't moonlighting as a racist terrorist, the Grand Dragon ran a dry cleaners. I found the gap between the two identities striking. (There was, I suppose, a perverse sense in a man wearing sheets at night and cleaning them by day.) I'd wanted to see for myself what kind of man could walk that line, but I'd never get the chance.
With my subjects passing away as I reached out to them, I nearly gave up on interviews altogether. I had unearthed an incredible wealth of material in the archives and drawn on transcripts of interviews conducted by other scholars - ones who apparently had the ability to approach their subjects without causing death. I felt I had more than enough material to craft a decent history and an engaging story. So why bother?
But late in my research, I stumbled across a recent newspaper interview with the most significant segregationist in my story - Lester Maddox. Maddox had gained notoriety for chasing civil rights activists away from his fried chicken restaurant with a pistol; his son, meanwhile, was armed with what would become Maddox's trademark ax-handle. Soon thereafter, Maddox became a martyr for segregationists by closing his business down rather than have it"ruined" by integration. Ultimately, his fierce resistance to integration landed him in the governor's mansion.
Because of Maddox's centrality to my story, I knew I had to interview him. Over the telephone, he kindly agreed and arranged for me to drive out to his home in the suburbs. The day before our meeting, however, the 85-year-old called to say his health had taken a turn for the worse and he'd be coming into the city for an emergency visit with his doctor. Here we go again, I thought.
Maddox offered to meet me in my neighborhood to conduct the interview. Trying to find an appropriate place to meet, I suggested a coffee shop around the corner. The last time I'd been there, it was empty, with just a middle-aged couple working the counter and playing soft classical music. It seemed like the perfect place for an interview.
Walking in a few minutes before our meeting, however, I found a somewhat different scene. Behind the register stood a teenager with multiple piercings and bright purple hair pulled up in dreadlocks. And instead of classical music, the speakers were now blaring disco hits from the `70s. Trying to make the best of the situation, I nervously grabbed a coffee and found a table in the corner.
I had barely taken my seat when Maddox walked in. He was wearing a seersucker suit, horn-rimmed glasses, and a lapel pin of the Confederate battle flag. He even wore a wristwatch he once manufactured and sold, with his caricature in the center and a chicken drumstick and ax-handle marking the minute and hour. An editorial cartoonist couldn't have drawn a more classic image of a Southern segregationist. For a second I sat there, soaking in the sight.
Suddenly, I realized what song was blaring from the coffee shop's speakers:"Play That Funky Music, White Boy."
Once I controlled my laughter, the interview was no problem at all.
By Kevin M. Kruse
About Kevin M. Kruse
"Kruse is by far the best lecturer I've had at Princeton."...
"This is the best class I've taken at Princeton and maybe ever. The lectures were stimulating, honest, and overall incredible - I was moved to tears once."...
"Kruse's lectures are not to be missed. His organization is impeccable, he speaks clearly, and he's funny too."...
"Prof. Kruse genuinely cares about his students--he wants them to do well. He makes his lectures engaging, adding variety with different forms of media. I never got bored during his lectures as he has a great presence even in a large lecture hall like McCosh 10. He is extremely well organized and makes his expectations clear to his students from the very beginning of the semester. Nothing comes out of left field. In precept, he encourages debate and makes his precepts about the students, jumping in to clarify difficult concepts. Taking ANY of his courses will greatly add to your academic experience at Princeton!"...
"Prof. Kruse is an excellent and outstanding professor. He is very engaging, a good lecturer, and picks excellent readings. He is also very thoughtful and goes the extra mile in giving feedback and in being responsive to student needs. I would strongly recommend him, even to those who are not inclined to take history classes. He makes the material rich and engaging." -- Anonymous Students