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How did the world of nation-states come about? What happened to the world of empires that preceded it? How did the transition take place and how inevitable was it? These may seem (and indeed are) old questions.
In The Ethnographic State: France and the Invention of Moroccan Islam, Edmund Burke does the important work of historicizing colonial-era research on Morocco and Moroccans.
These are the first two volumes of a new series, Histoire de la France contemporaine. They replace the previous Seuil series, published in the 1970s. As a reflection of the attitudes of current French academic specialists, they are interesting on two levels. Each is a careful synthesis of recent research on the two periods.
Child of the Enlightenment is a captivating book: charming, moving, and richly informative, it melds the intimate and distant, weaving together bodies, emotions and minds, Enlightenment ideas and philosophy, and revolutionary politics.