MA (Aberdeen), DPhil (Oxon)
Alan Forrest is Professor of Modern History. He works on modern French history, especially the period of the French Revolution and Empire, and on the history of modern warfare.
He serves on the editorial boards of French History and War in History, and is a member of the advisory committee for Annales historiques de la Revolution Francaise. He also co-edits a series for Palgrave-Macmillan on 'War, Culture and Society, 1750-1850'.
Much of Alan Forrest's published work has been on the French Revolutionary period, and especially on the social history of the Revolution. He is interested in the political culture of Revolutionary France, and in the concept of citizenship, espcially as it affected ordinary people who found themselves forced into political decisions, often against their will, by a regime which demanded total commitment. This often gave rise to conflict, and he has studied that conflict in a number of different contexts - in the urban revolts against the Convention which are usually termed 'federalism'; in the social policies adopted towards the poor; and in the demands of the army for military service and conscription. More generally he has written about the history of the French provinces at a time when initiatives came increasingly from the centre, and on the often difficult relations between Paris and provincial France.
Alan Forrest also works on the history of the French armies during the Revolutionary and Napoleonic era and on the history of experience. In 2002, he published a book on French soldiers' experience of the revolutionary and Napoleonic wars, and on the evidence provided by their letters and other writings from the army. He has also written widely on issues of conscription and military ideology, and in 2009 published a monograph with Cambridge University Press on The Legacy of the French Revolutionary Wars: The Nation-in-Arms in French Republican Memory.
Much of his recent writing has focused on Napoleon and the First Empire, especially on Napoleonic propaganda, the Napoleonic legend, and representations of the Empire in contemporary polemic, which was the subject of a jointly-authored book with Jean-Paul Bertaud (Paris) and Annie Jourdan (Amsterdam), published in French in 2006. A biography of Napoleon appeared with Quercus in 2011.
Research in progress includes work on the memory of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in nineteenth-century Europe; on the history of the French Atlantic in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; and on the challenge of writing a global history of the French Revolution.
In York the J B Morrell Library contains considerable holdings on the French Revolutionary period. The Raymond Burton Humanities Research Library has built up its eighteenth-century holdings to include the Eighteeenth Century Short Title Index and also holds substantial sections of the French Revolutionary Research Collection on microfiche. Students undertaking research degrees will also want to take advantage of the resources nearby - in particular the British Library Lending Division at Boston Spa, the Brotherton Library in Leeds, and the John Rylands Library in Manchester.