Julia M Gossard

Gossard Pic

When I started graduate school, I told my advisor I had no interest in working on the French Atlantic.  Quickly enough, though, the Atlantic and the wider eighteenth-century world crept into my work, providing me rich historical perspectives.  Now an Assistant Professor of History and Distinguished Assistant Professor of Honors Education at Utah State University, studying the history of childhood, youth, and gender in the eighteenth-century French world, my research and teaching interests fit well within the #VastEarlyAmerican field.

My book manuscript, Coercing Children: State-Building and Social Reform in the Eighteenth-Century French World  (under contract with McGill-Queen’s University Press) considers children as active agents of social reform, state-building, and imperialism in Europe, North America (Canada & Louisiana), the Ottoman Empire, and Siam.  The actions of children, both young women and men, had profound impacts on the trajectory and success of imperial projects and grassroots social reform programs.

As a way to bridge my research and teaching, I strive to include a “wider early modern world” perspective in all of my classes, whether Western Civilization, Comparative Revolutions, or gender courses. The most exciting course I have taught in recent years is “Revolution!: Reacting to Atlantic Revolutions.” This course employs Reacting to the Past as method to study Atlantic revolutions through a comparative framework.  While assigned a revolutionary character, students study the American, French, and Haitian Revolutions. In addition to analyzing primary sources, students learn important skills about civics and how to be “good” citizens.

My work has been published in the Journal of the History of Childhood & Youth, Age of Revolutions, the American Historical Association’s “Teaching with #DigHist” series, Notches, Not Even Past, and 15 Minute History. I’ve also appeared on the BBC 4 Radio Show, “When Greeks Flew Kites” to discuss the long history of childhood agency.

As a Juntoist, I am looking forward to bringing a French perspective to the study of #VastEarlyAmerica along with an increased focus on the history of childhood, youth, and gender.  I am also excited to write about emerging pedagogical practices.

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