Jennifer Sessions

Jennifer Sessions
Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
Modern France
European empires
Cultural history
France and its overseas empire
Culture and politics
274 SH
Office Hours: 
T 1:00-3:00/TH 9:00-10:00 and by appointment
Phone Number: 

Jennifer Sessions' research interests center on the relationship between France and its overseas empire, and on the intersections of culture and politics. Her recent book, By Sword and Plow: France and the Conquest of Algeria (Cornell University Press, 2011), uses archival, visual, and literary sources to trace the foundation of the French settler colony in Algeria in the mid-nineteenth century. Listen to a New Books in History podcast interview regarding this book  here. She is currently at work on two projects exploring settler practices of commemoration in colonial Algeria and the 1901 "Margueritte Revolt" and subsequent trial of the accused Algerian participants. Professor Sessions joined the History Department in 2005 after completing her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania.

Professor Sessions joined the History Department in 2005 after completing her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania.


Professor Sessions teaches courses in the history of modern France , modern Europe, and European colonialism, including:

  • HIST:1101  The Modern World
  • HIST:1403  Western Civilization III (The Modern Age)
  • HIST:2151  Introduction to the History Major -- Paris, Capital of the 19th Century
  • HIST:4435  War and Society in Modern Europe
  • HIST:4438  Modern European Imperialism
  • HIST:4464  France in the Age of Revolution, 1789-1871
  • HIST:4465  France in the Twentieth Century, 1871-present
  • HIST:7192  Graduate Research Seminar
  • HIST:7456  Readings in Modern European History
  • HIST:7460  France and the New Colonial History
Awards & Service: 
  • Mary Alice and Philip Boucher Book Prize for 2011, French Colonial Historical Society Co-Director, European Studies Group, 2011-
  • International Programs Summer Research Fellowship, 2011
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend, 2007
  • Kluge Fellow, W. Kluge Center for Scholars, Library of Congress, 2007-08
  • Old Gold Summer Research Fellowship, University of Iowa, Summer 2006
  • University of Pennsylvania, Teaching Critical Writing Fellowship, 2004-05 (declined)
  • University of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Franklin Graduate Fellowship, 1997-2003
  • Societe des Professeurs Francais et Francophones d'Amerique, Jeanne Marandon Dissertation Research Fellowship, 2001-02
  • French Government Cultural Service, Bourse Chateaubriand for Dissertation Research, 2000-01
  • Fulbright Dissertation Research Grant, France (declined)
  • Harvard University, Augustus J. Tower Fellowship for French Studies, 1996-97
  • Harvard University, Ecole Normale Superieure Residential Exchange Fellowship, 1996-97