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James B. Collins, professor and head of history at Georgetown University, will speak on “Nation and Identity: Reconsidering the History of France” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4, in the auditorium of Kirby Hall of Civil Rights.

Free and open to the public, the talk is this year’s Richard E. Welch, Jr. Memorial Lecture, sponsored by the history department. A reception will follow the lecture.

Collins earned a Ph.D. in 1978 from Columbia University. He taught at Lafayette from 1981-1985 before joining Georgetown.

Collins is the author of five books: From Tribes to Nation: The Making of France, c. 500 to 1799 (Wadsworth, 2002), The French Revolution (Wadsworth, 2002), The State in Early Modern France (Cambridge University Press, 1995), Classes, Estates, and Order in Early Modern Brittany (Cambridge University Press, 1994), and The Fiscal Limits of Absolutism: Direct Taxation in Early Seventeenth-Century France (University of California Press, 1988).

He also has published 26 articles, including “Le marquis-colporteur: la légende et la réalité de Gilles Ruellan,” Les finances de l’Ancien Régime: Les financiers provinciaux sous l’Ancien Régime, 2002; “Noble Political Ideology and the Estates General of Orléans and Pontoise: French Republicanism,” Historical Reflections/Reflexions Historiques, 2001; “La Guerre de la Ligue et le Bien Public,” Autour du traité de Vervins, guerre et paix en Europe à la fin du XVIe et au début du XVIIe siècles, 2001. “Le conflit des élites locaux et la naissance de l’état moderne,” Cahiers d’histoire, 2000; and “State building in early-modern Europe: the case of France,” Modern Asian Studies, 1997.

Collins has presented over 40 papers throughout Europe and North America at such venues as the Society for French Historical Studies, the Society for French History (Great Britain), various international conferences, and universities in Europe and the U.S., including Indiana and Johns Hopkins. Recent and upcoming talks include: “Citizenship and authority in early modern commonwealths,” International Conference on the Limits of Authority: State Power and Civic Society in Central and Eastern Europe, Pecs University, Hungary, May 2002; “Hit the road, Jacques! Translation de domicile in late 17th-century Normandy,” Historical Institute, London, May 2002; and “Un pélerin américain suit les traces d’un chercheur français: la ville et la campagne dijonnaise de Roupnel,” Colloque International Gaston Roupnel, Dijon, December 2001.

Collins is a series editor of “New Studies in European History,” published by Cambridge University Press. He is former president of the Society for French Historical Studies, the leading organization of French historians in North America. He has received many grants from organizations such as the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation, and École des Hautes Études (Paris).

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