Emma Kuby

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, Political Survivors: The Resistance, the Cold War, and the Fight Against Concentration Camps After 1945 (Cornell University Press, 2019), 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.

Major Publications 


Articles/Book Chapters

  • “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 History of the Western World II
  • HIST 312 France Since 1815
  • HIST 322 Women in Modern Europe
  • HIST 328 Europe Since 1945
  • HIST 339 French Overseas Empire
  • HIST 395 Historical Methods
  • HIST 423/523 French Revolution and Napoleon
  • HIST 640 Aftermath of Conflict
  • HIST 740 Violence and Empire


Emma Kuby

Emma Kuby

Associate Professor

Ph.D., Cornell University, 2011

Modern France

Zulauf 710

On leave Spring 2020