Stewart McCain (Oxford) RHS P. J. Marshall Fellow

The language question under Napoleon

Stewart McCain is currently reading for a DPhil at the University of Oxford, where he previously completed a Master’s degree. Prior to this, he completed a BA in History at the University of Sussex, and has also spent a year as a visiting student at the École Normale Supérieure de Cachan.

Stewart’s doctoral research focuses on the political and social history of language within the First French Empire. As the borders of the French state expanded during Revolutionary and Napoleonic period, the linguistically diverse population of France was joined by a large swathe of population who not only spoke no French, but who had also never lived under the Francophone domination of Paris. Through a series of case studies, situated geographically both within and beyond the borders of pre-Revolutionary France, Stewart’s thesis elucidates both the language policy of the Napoleonic state, and the responses of different groups to the linguistic demands placed upon them.