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joshcole_thumbnailWelcome to my home page.  I’m a Professor of History at the University of Michigan, where I’ve been teaching since 2004.

My research and teaching deal primarily with the social and cultural history of France in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and I’ve published work on gender and the history of the population sciences, colonial violence, and the politics of memory in France, Algeria, and Germany.

My new book, Lethal Provocation: The Constantine Murders and the Politics of French Algeria will be published by Cornell University Press in September, 2019.  It explores an episode of anti-Jewish violence in the city of Constantine in eastern Algeria on August 3-5, 1934 in which twenty-eight people died.  The Constantine riots were an important event in Algerian, French, and Jewish history but their origins have been the subject of debate and uncertainty since the moment they occurred.  Click here for more information about this book.

cole.powerMy earlier book, The Power of Large Numbers:  Population, Politics and Gender in Nineteenth-Century France (Ithaca:  Cornell University Press, 2000), examined the emergence of new scientific techniques for understanding population questions in nineteenth-century France and their connection to changing ideas about the French state and the place of women and families in the social order.  Click here to see more about this book.

cap_cities_at_war_coverAfter I finished my dissertation, I was also involved in a collaborative study of three cities in Europe during the First World War.  My work for this group was published in Jay Winter and Jean-Louis Robert, Capital Cities at War:  London, Paris, Berlin, 1914-1919 (Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1997). Click here to see more about this volume.

maghrib-poster-epsIn April 2009 I co-organized a conference on the Maghrib in the 20th century along with Patricia Lorcin (Department of History, University of Minnesota).  The conference brought together scholars from Europe, North Africa, and North America for four days of meetings on the campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.  Videos of the presentations are accessible here.

Since 2009 I have been an author of W. W. Norton’s Western Civilizations, a two-volume survey of European history, along with  Carol Symes.  Click here to learn more about the 2017 edition of this textbook, which is available as well in a brief edition.  There is also an accompanying two-volume document collection, Perspectives from the Past.  To see a selection of author videos related to the themes of individual chapters in the textbook, please click here.

Click on the other links above  to learn about my current research and teaching, the work of graduate students working with me at the University of Michigan, and to download copies of some of my publications.