Past Projects

Judith Surkis

Associate ProfessorJSurkis

Ph.D., Cornell University, 2001

at Rutgers since 2012

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I specialize in Modern European History, with an emphasis on France and the French Empire, gender and sexuality, and intellectual, cultural, and legal History. My research and teaching range across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, examining questions of sex and citizenship, colonialism and postcolonial migration, as well as critical theory and historical methodology. I am currently completing a book, Scandalous Subjects: Sex, Law, and Sovereignty in French Algeria, 1830-1930, which explores how ideas about sex and gender shaped approaches to law and public order in French Algeria. I show how colonial law framed Algerian religious difference as a form of sexual difference and how Algerians worked within and against this legal frame. The book offers a new view of the historical entanglement of French and Muslim law and historically situates recent controversies over sexual and religious pluralism in France and Europe today.  I have also begun work on a new project, Breaking Up Is Hard To Do: Family Lives and Laws After Decolonization, which examines the development of private international law in the wake of the decolonization and European integration. Taking the case of the children of binational couples as a point of departure, I examine postwar transformations in kinship, women and children’s rights, feminism, and global legal orders in a shared analytical frame.

My previous publications include Sexing the Citizen: Morality and Masculinity in France, 1870-1920 (Cornell, 2006) and articles in the American Historical Review, Public Culture, French Politics, Culture, and Society, and the History of the Present.