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"A passage to imprisonment : the British prisoners " Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP26 Oct 2017 11:15 a.m. PST

…. of war in Verdun under the First French Empire

"This thesis explores parole detention as a site of transnational exchange through a case study of Verdun, a central depot for British civilian and military prisoners of war in Napoleonic France. By focusing on the interactions between captives and captors, this study throws into relief the ambiguities of nation-building and the totalisation of warfare, which kept these two countries at odds in the long eighteenth century. The main finding that has arisen from this work is the predominance of social dynamics over national, martial and religious antagonisms during this forced cohabitation, which nuances the truism of French and British identities forged against each other during the period. Furthermore, moving beyond the common assumption that the concept of honour lost its substance in France after 1789, I argue that parole detention in Verdun was based on gendered and ad hoc practices of internment, which syncretised old and revolutionary understandings of the notion. Whilst the situation of sequestered women has received little attention, this thesis makes the original claim that parole was in fact tailored to the presence of female 'voluntary captives' in Verdun. Composed of seven thematic chapters, and drawing on a variety of sources (ego-documents, newspapers, botanical specimens, material and visual culture), this thesis intends to provide a fresh sociocultural and transnational contribution to the burgeoning field of POW studies. Beyond conventional and nation-centric 'histoire-batailles', which so frequently place the question of military captivity within the rigid frame of a three-staged 'experience' a trope inspired by memoirs of captivity this thesis re-considers the experience of detention as a liminal 'passage'. By putting emphasis less on being than becoming a captive, this perspective situates military detention in a wider temporal framework, which includes the aftermath of 1814 and lifewriting as part of the experience."
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