Emma Kuby

Emma Kuby

Assistant Professor

Fields of Study: Modern French History, European Cultural and Intellectual History, Violence, Decolonization, Gender

Email: ekuby@niu.edu
Office: Zulauf 710

Education: Ph.D., Cornell University, 2011

Current Research:

My research centers on the effects of World War II’s violence on the intellectual history of postwar France and Western Europe. In my first book project, I relate the history of a movement of prominent Nazi concentration camp survivors who engaged in a decade-long campaign against the continued existence of the “concentration camp universe” in the postwar world. Declaring themselves “natural specialists” in human suffering by virtue of their past bodily experiences, these men and women put the Soviet Gulag on trial and conducted on-the-ground investigations from Spain to China to French Algeria, pioneering a visceral language of opposition to forced labor and political detention that shaped the development of global human rights activism. My book uses the movement’s rich and at times troubling history to explore broader questions about the relationship between traumatic memory and political action in the aftermath of atrocity. I have also published articles on torture, terror, and sexual politics during France’s Algerian War, including an essay that received the inaugural Lawrence R. Schehr Memorial Award.


“From Auschwitz to Algeria: The Mediterranean Limits of the French Anti-Concentration Camp Movement, 1952-1959.” In French Mediterraneans:Transnational and Imperial Histories, edited by Patricia Lorcin and Todd Shepard. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2016.

“‘Our Actions Never Cease to Haunt Us’: Frantz Fanon, Jean-Paul Sartre, and the Violence of the Algerian War.” Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques, Winter 2015 (41: 3), 59-78.

 “In the Shadow of the Concentration Camp: David Rousset and the Limits of Apoliticism in Postwar French Thought.” Modern Intellectual History, April 2014 (11: 1), 147-173.

“From the Torture Chamber to the Bedchamber: French Soldiers, Anti-War Activists, and the Discourse of Sexual Deviancy in the Algerian War (1954-1962).” Contemporary French Civilization, Summer 2013 (38: 2), 131-153. Recipient of the Lawrence R. Schehr Memorial Award.

 “A War of Words over an Image of War: The Fox Movietone Scandal and the Portrayal of French Violence in Algeria, 1955-56.” French Politics, Culture & Society, Spring 2012 (30: 1), 46-67. 

Teaching Interests:

My teaching interests include courses on modern European and French history, intellectual history, and the history of French overseas empire, as well as thematic classes related to violence, justice, memory, and religious minorities in modern Europe. 

Courses Taught:

HIST 112 - Western Civilization Since 1815
HIST 295 - Historical Methods
HIST 312 - France Since 1815
HIST 328 – Europe Since 1945
HIST 339 – French Overseas Empire
HIST 640 – Aftermath of Conflict