Story posted July 27, 2005
Paul Friedland, Bowdoin associate professor of history, was one of only 60 scholars nationwide selected this year to receive an ACLS Fellowship. The grant, awarded by the American Council of Learned Societies, supports postdoctoral research in the humanities for up to one year.
In addition to the ACLS award, Friedland received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
Both awards, which run through December 2006, will allow Friedland to continue working on a book about public executions in France in the 18th century, tentatively entitled, Seeing Justice Done: The Logic of Spectacular Punishment in Pre-Modern France and of its Disappearance in the Eighteenth Century.
"It's very nice of the College to let me take both of these grants over the next year and a half ," said Friedland. "It will really allow me to finish the book and get back to teaching."
Friedland's first book, Political Actors: Representative Bodies and Theatricality in the Age of the French Revolution, (Cornell University Press, 2002) was named the best book in the field of French history by the Society for French Historical Studies in 2002.
Friedland said his new research is an outgrowth of his earlier work in that it examines classes of people who were excluded from civil society before the French Revolution: actors and executioners. In Seeing Justice Done, Friedland studies the logic of public executions and seeks to explain why thousands of people regularly showed up to witness them. He also hopes to shed light on the disappearance of public corporal punishment toward the end of the eighteenth century, and its eventual replacement by penal servitude.
Friedland has been a member of the Bowdoin faculty since 1997.