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Department of History


Carol E. Harrison

Title: Professor
Department: History
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-6107
Office: Gambrell Hall, Room 238
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Carol Harrison


  • B.A. Louisiana State University
  • D.Phil Oxford University


Professor Harrison regularly teaches the survey of European history, women in modern Europe, the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. She also teaches graduate seminars on feminist theory and methodology.  Her first book, The Bourgeois Citizen in Nineteenth-Century France: Gender, Sociability, and the Uses of Emulation, explored the formation of a male bourgeois elite in provincial France. Her second book, Romantic Catholics: France's Postrevolutionary Generation in Search of a Modern Faith examines how lay French women, men, and children practiced their faith, aspiring to create a revitalized Catholicism that could reconcile itself with revolutionary political principles.


With my colleague Thomas J. Brown, I recently finished Zouave Theaters: Transnational Military Fashion and Performance, a transnational history of the Zouave uniform.  Originating in French colonial Algeria, the uniform with its baggy trousers and open jacket became a mid-nineteenth-century fad. The volunteers who defended Papal Rome, both sides of the US Civil War, the British West Indies Regiment, the guardsmen of the last king of Hawaii, Polish insurgents against Russian rule, and free black Brazilian units in the war against Paraguay all wore the look. Simultaneously, Zouave performances featuring human pyramids, precision rifle maneuvers, and plots that turned on cross-dressing sold out theatres in Europe and the US.  Some of these Zouave performers were veterans of military units, but many were women, and by the 1870s the Zouave stage featured such mash-ups as Chinese and Native American Zouave troupes.  Being a Zouave meant embracing ethnic, racial, and gender crossing and liberating oneself from the strictures of bourgeois society.   

I am currently working on “A Women’s History of Vatican I,” a book manuscript that follows the controversies surrounding the First Vatican Council (1869-70) from the perspective of lay Catholic women on its margins.  Although no women were present at the council meetings, many followed debates on the temporal sovereignty of the papacy and the infallibility of the pope.  Contemporaries agreed that the most distinguished of these women – scholars, writers, and journalists among them – sided with the anti-infallibility Minority. My transnational study focuses on lay Catholic women from four countries at different stages of nation formation: the best-selling French author Pauline La Ferronnays Craven, the Bavarian historian Charlotte von Leyden Blennerhassett, the American journalist Emilie Meriman Loyson, and the Polish writer and theologian Princess Carolyne von Sayn Wittgenstein.  Their careers suggest that in cosmopolitan Catholicism, these women found a desirable alternative to the rights of national citizens that modern states denied them.  Vatican I, however, was a blow to their conviction that their church offered them a superior form of inclusion and belonging.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.