William S. Cormack

William S. Cormack

Campus: Guelph
Office: 1012 MacKinnon Extension
Email: wcormack@uoguelph.ca

I received my PhD from Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario in 1992, and since 1998 I have been a member of the Department of History at the University of Guelph where I teach courses in modern European history and a graduate course on “Revolutionary France, 1789-1871.” My own research focuses on the French Revolution, particularly political struggle resulting from the ambiguity of popular sovereignty and competing claims to represent the nation. My book explores this dynamic in the French Navy. My recent research concerns the impact of the Revolution in France’s Caribbean colonies, particularly Martinique and Guadeloupe in the Lesser Antilles. I am interested in the entire phenomenon of the French Revolution, however, including its 18th-century antecedents and its influence on the development of a revolutionary tradition in the 19th century.

Graduate students under my supervision have done projects on the Enlightenment, the cult of revolutionary martyrs, images of women during the Revolution, Civisme and republican ethics, and changes to family law in France during the Revolution.

Select Publications

  • Revolution and Political Conflict in the French Navy 1789-1794, (Cambridge & New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995; 1st paperback edition 2002)
  • “The slave-holding Republic in the Îles du Vent: The Republican Regimes in Martinique and Guadeloupe, 1793-94,” Consortium on the Revolutionary Era, 1750-1850, Selected Papers, (2006) publication pending.
  • “Communications, the State and Revolution in the French Caribbean,” French Colonial History, Vol. 6 (2005), 45-53.
  • “Revolutionary Conflict in the Lesser Antilles: The Coming of Civil War in Martinique, 1790,” paper presented to the 48th Annual Meeting of the Society for French Historical Studies, Toronto, 2002.
  • “Rumours of Revolution: The Impact of 1789 in Martinique and Guadeloupe,” Consortium on Revolutionary Europe 1750-1850, Selected Papers, (2001), 339-346.
  • “Victor Hugues and the Reign of Terror on Guadeloupe, 1794-1798,” Essays in French Colonial History: Proceedings of the 21st Annual Meeting of the French Colonial History Soiety, ed. A.J.B. Johnson, (East Lansing, MI, 1997), 31-41.
  • “Legitimate Authority in Revolution and War: The French Navy in the West Indies, 1789-1793,” The International History Review, XVIII, no. 1 (Feb. 1996), 1-27.