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Elsa Génard



Email: elsa.genard@gmail.com


Elsa Génard is a historian of modern France. Her research is at the crossroad between social history, legal history and the history of the state, with an emphasis on prison. It builds on a wide range of approaches, including quantitative methods. Her dissertation work developed a social history of interactions in prison in France from the 1910s till the end of the 1930s. From admission to release, from prison courtroom to visiting room, her thesis follows the paths of incarcerated men and women, as they are subjected to different patterns of imprisonment. By studying how WWI and the ensuing economic and social evolutions affected prison life, her work shows that carceral interactions tap into the full repertoire of interpersonal relationships of that period.

Her current research focuses on the economic relationships in prison during the Great Depression, with a comparative perspective (France, England and the United States). Her research goal is to understand whether economic relations in prison were reconfigured in the face of the crisis. Analyzing and comparing labor and economic relations in prison in different Western countries will shed new light on the dynamics of inequality in the carceral world, whose key characteristics are scarcity of resources and deprivation. 

Elsa received her Ph.D. in history from Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in 2021. She obtained her BA at Sorbonne Université and her MA in History at Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. She also studied at Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris.