Dr Constance Bantman SFHEA FRHistS

Deputy Head of School, Associate Professor in French
BA, MA, PhD; Graduate of the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Lyon-LSH); SFHEA; FRHistS
+441483 683065
03 LC 03
Tuesday 1-3pm (on campus); Weds. 10-12am (online)

Academic and research departments

School of Literature and Languages.


Areas of specialism

Franco-British political and cultural exchanges and cross-Channel migrations, 19th and 20th centuries.; History of the French anarchist movement (1870-1939); Methodology of Transnational History; History of Anarchist Terrorism in the long 19th century; Transnational print culture in the long 19th century; Women in Radical Political Movements

University roles and responsibilities

  • Deputy Head of School
  • Associate Professor in French
  • Trained Panel Member
  • Co-convenor of the Mobilities Research Centre

    My qualifications

    PhD in History:
    "Anarchismes et anarchistes en France et en Grande-Bretagne (1880-1914): Echanges, representations, transferts"
    Paris 13 University
    MA in History
    Paris 13 University
    Trainee researcher and lecturer at the Ecole Normale Superieure Lyon-LSH


    Research interests

    Research collaborations

    Indicators of esteem

    • Reviewer for The American Historical Review, Anarchist Studies, The Historical Journal, H-Net/H-HistSex, International Review of Social HistoryJournal of British Studies, Journal of Historical Geography, The Labour History Review, Modern and Contemporary FranceLe Mouvement Social, Revue d’histoire du XIXe siècle, The Political Quarterly, Theoretical Criminology, Transatlantica, Vingtième Siècle, Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris (postdoctoral application reviewer), Royal Society (Fellowship application reviewer).

      I have reviewed book proposals and manuscripts for Cambridge University Press, Cornell University Press, Columbia University Press, Liverpool University Press. 


    Postgraduate research supervision




    Jean Grave and the Networks of French Anarchism (Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan, 2021)


    The French Anarchists in London (1880-1914): Exile and Transnationalism in the First Globalisation (Liverpool: LUP, 2013)

    With Ana Claudia Suriani da Silva, The London Foreign Political Press in Nineteenth-Century London: Politics from a Distance (London: Bloomsbury, 2017)

    With Bert Altena, Reassessing the Transnational Turn: Scales of Analysis in Anarchist and Syndicalist Studies (1st ed. Routledge, 2015, 2nd ed. PM Press, 2017)

    With Dave Berry, New Perspectives on Anarchism, Labour and Syndicalism: The Individual, the National and the Transnational  (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010)

    'The Era of Propaganda by the Deed', in Matthew Adams and Carl Levy (eds.), Palgrave Handbook of Anarchism, Palgrave, 2018, pp. 371-87.

    Constance Bantman (2022)Anarchist Education and the Modern School. A Francisco Ferrer Reader, In: Anarchist Studies30(1)pp. 120-121 Lawrence & Wishart

    Bantman reviews Anarchist Education and the Modern School: A Francisco Ferrer Reader edited by Mark Bray and Robert H. Haworth and translated by Mark Bray and Joseph McCabe.

    Constance Bantman (2023)Fear of a Yellow Vest Planet. The Gilets Jaunes and the Battle for the Future of France, In: Anarchist Studies31(1)pp. 123-125 Lawrence & Wishart

    Fear of a Yellow Vest Planet. The Gilets Jaunes and the Battle for the Future of France, by Peter Wilkin is reviewed.

    Constance Bantman (2023)Mabel Holland Thomas Grave, the Anarchist Pastoral, In: Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies ADCS Anarchist Developments in Cultural Studies
    CONSTANCE BANTMAN, Charlotte Faucher (2022)‘French lady seeks … ’: finding work as a French governess in late Victorian and Edwardian England (1870–1914), In: Women's history review Routledge

    While the presence of thousands of French governesses in Britain at any given time between 1870 and 1914 is well-known, and despite the significant scholarly literature examining governesses as well as cross-Channel grassroots exchanges in the Late-Victorian and Edwardian periods, little remains known about the realities of these women’s lives. They remain largely invisibilised by stereotypes of sensuousness – if not deviancy – constructed by contemporary literature and the sensationalist press in their portrayals of French governesses. This article lays the foundations of a sociodemographic study of these migrant workers, mapping out their presence across Britain and highlighting the wide range of occupational contexts within which they operated. Focusing on their job search process and challenging narratives stressing their lack of professionalism, the article stresses their skills and agency. It highlights the personal and professional networks which they mobilised in order to navigate life in Britain and gain an understanding of the highly competitive governess labour market. Examining the job advertisements placed by would-be French governesses testifies to their deftness in gauging and trying to meet employers’ expectations – which in turn contributes to understanding these women as skilled intercultural operators.

    Constance Bantman (2024)Transnational Activism through the Prism of Anarchism, and Vice Versa, In: International Review of Social History Cambridge University Press

    Daniel Laqua notes in Activism across Borders that “[t]here cannot be a comprehensive study of transnational activism, and the present book constitutes just one possible history of transnational activism: it is well possible to imagine a study on the same subject with very different examples and emphases”. While the scope and conceptual possibilities of the notion of transnational activism justify this claim, Activism across Borders is undoubtedly a landmark contribution and an essential synthesis, which impresses through the quality of its primary and secondary research, its sophisticated theoretical framework, and its deft writing. The consideration and confrontation of a wide range of transnational movements, ideologies, and activists is particularly fruitful from a theoretical and methodological perspective; Chapter Four, on “Class, Revolution and Social Justice”, similarly deploys a cross-partisan approach, which opens stimulating avenues for reflection, over an ambitious chronological span – from the post-1848 wave of revolutionary exile to the contemporary global justice movement. Three prominent aspects of this chapter are considered in this brief review essay, largely informed by my perspective as a historian of pre-1914 transnational anarchism: historiographic perspectives on socialist activisms; the modalities of transnational activism; as well as borders and boundaries.

    Constance Bantman (2024)Regards croisés sur la surveillance et le contrôle des anarchistes français à Londres : Autour de l’explosion de l’Observatoire de Greenwich (1894), In: Polices et révolutions en Europe occidentale Presses Universitaires de Rennes

    Les recherches menées au cours des dix dernières années ont établi le rôle de la période de « propagande par le fait » – c'est-à-dire la vague d’attentats d’inspiration anarchiste qui frappe la France dans les années 1880-90 – comme un moment décisif de redéfinition des pratiques nationales et internationales de surveillance politique et d’encadrement policier de l’anarchisme . Cette vague de violence politique, qui n’épargne pratiquement aucun pays en Europe et bien au-delà, suscite une rationalisation et une professionnalisation des méthodes policières ainsi qu’un effort sans précédent de coordination internationale. Ce processus a été décrit par Beatrice De Graaf comme la mise en place d’un « dispositif sécuritaire » par les services de police et de justice, se caractérisant à l’échelle nationale et internationale par un triple processus de bureaucratisation, de standardisation et de modernisation

    CONSTANCE BANTMAN (2022)Reencountering The French Anarchists in London, 1880-1914: Archival and Historiographic Reassessments, In: Revista Mundos do Trabalho Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

    This article follows up on the book The French Anarchists in London, 1880-1914 (2013), by exploring some primary material uncovered since this publication, and considering the ways in which research into the history of anarchism as a transnational movement has evolved. In the years since the publication of this book, a great deal of research has furthered or challenged its findings, especially in relation to print culture and the study of global anarchist networks. The mass digitisation of periodicals (both anarchist and mainstream) and archives in the last ten years offers new tools to find detailed information about the personal and political lives of these elusive anarchists in London – and further afield, thus rectifying the original study’s London-centric focus. These sources are also crucial in documenting the ways in which anarchists were perceived and portrayed in Britain, France and internationally, and constructed into a major public threat through media discourse.

    Constance Bantman (2021)Jean Grave and the Networks of French Anarchism, 1854-1939 Palgrave Macmillan

    This book explores the life of Jean Grave, one of the leading figures of the early twentieth-century French and international anarchist movement. It offers a new approach to understanding the activist networks through which the ideas and writings of Grave and his contemporaries were shared. Unlike other biographies of Grave, this book focuses on these personal and activist relationships, and the workings of these groups, circles and networks - from the very local to the global. Based predominantly in Paris, Grave can be seen as a remarkable example of immobile transnationalism, in which a very active and thriving print culture served as the prime medium for supporting contacts. Presenting a new perspective on Grave's life, the author presents a re-reading of the French anarchist movement in the years leading up to, during and after the First World War. It offers a new methodological approach to researching the history of political networks, particularly in their transnational ramifications, their role in the formation of social movements and activism, and their interplay with print culture.

    The political activities of the 450 or so French-speaking anarchists exiled in Great Britain between 1880 and 1914 have recently been the subject of diverging historiographical assessments. The terrorist motive, which the movement's contemporaries were so concerned with, has been taken up by several studies. Yet a transnational approach brings out a very different interpretation: that of a group with a predominantly informal organisation (against the myth of the "anarchist International"), overwhelmed with basic material preoccupations, and more inclined to strategic thinking concerning the revolutionary potential of trade unions than to terrorist pursuits. In the light of this analysis, it is therefore more fruitful to describe London's "French quarter", not as a terrorist outpost, but rather as a node of networks and transfers for the international anarchist movement.

    Constance Bantman (2018)The Era of Propaganda by the Deed, In: The Palgrave Handbook of Anarchismpp. 371-387 Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

    This chapter traces the ideological genesis of the notion of ‘propaganda by the deed’, recounts the terrorist wave which it partly inspired in the 1880s–1920s and highlights the contemporary legacies of the concept and its terrorist ramifications. The elaboration of propaganda by the deed as an activist strategy in the last years of the First International is charted, as well as subsequent, narrower reinterpretations of propaganda by the deed focusing on violence as the means to achieve political goals. The four-decade anarchist terrorist wave and its complex links with propaganda by the deed are then examined, highlighting tensions between the systematic characterisation of anarchism as a terrorist movement and actual internal divisions regarding the use of political violence. The third section surveys the explanations for both the rise and eventual decline of political violence, in particular the deployment of policing on a variety of scales as a response to terrorism. The widespread contemporary interest in the era of propaganda by the deed is highlighted, with a focus on academic debates exploring the possible parallels between anarchist terrorism and post-2001 Islamist-inspired attacks.

    Thomas C. Jones, Constance Bantman (2018)From Republicanism to Anarchism: 50 Years of French Exilic Newspaper Publishing, In: The Foreign Political Press in ­Nineteenth-Century London Bloomsbury Academic

    This chapter offers a long-term assessment of French exile journalism in the second half of the nineteenth century, revealing continuities often ignored by a historiography largely focused on distinct and chronologically separate political communities. London’s role as an outpost of French politics and publishing long predated this period, most notably with the Huguenot refuge and French Revolution émigrés, but the second half of the nineteenth century perpetuated and reinvented well-established cultures of exile, in which radical journalism played a prominent role. After 1848, and especially from the winter of 1851–2, the growing French exile presence in Britain was mostly concentrated in London. While strongly disliked by many French exiles, London also had much to offer: the discretion afforded by a sprawling metropolis, geographic proximity to France, an established French-speaking community with dense support networks and above all a lack of repressive legislation against foreign exiles....

    Constance Bantman (2017)Introduction: The Foreign Political Press in Nineteenth-Century London: Local and Transnational Contexts, In: The Foreign Political Press in Nineteenth-Century Londonpp. 1-14 Bloomsbury Academic

    This volume explores the history, roles and functioning of the foreign political press in London in the long nineteenth century, from a political, social, cultural and editorial perspective. Bringing together contributions by political and cultural historians and literary studies specialists, it builds on research into exile and transnational political activism conducted in the last twenty years or so, in which the press and print activism always feature as key themes but without a detailed analysis of their role in daily life and politics, nor with a comparative focus. Tellingly, the comprehensive Palgrave Dictionary of Transnational History (2009) does not include a specific entry on press history. Neither have historians of the British press examined in depth the extraterritorial political press, aside from colonial and imperial contexts, which have received much attention. It would certainly be unfair to claim that the transnational turn has bypassed press history, as evidenced for instance by some comparative studies, sections on globalization and transnational exchanges in Journalism and the Periodical Press in Nineteenth-Century Britain (2017) and the forthcoming (2018) Edinburgh History of the British and Irish Press, 1800–1900 respectively, and the work conducted in recent years by the Transnational network for the study of foreign-language press, Transfopress, as well as networks with a wider remit, such as the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals (RSVP) and the European Society for Periodical Research (ESPRit). The Waterloo Directory of Victorian Periodicals covers foreign titles extensively, while the editors of the 2016 Routledge Handbook to Nineteenth Century Periodicals and Newspapers ‘interpret “Britain” … as an extendable conceptual, geographic, and political space that often overlaps with locations of other social groupings not just of nations but of reading communities’, and the Handbook includes a stimulating section on the ‘Geographies’ of newspapers and periodicals.13 More specifically, the Dictionary of Nineteenth-century Journalism acknowledges the significant contribution to the British political press of prominent European radicals such as Karl Marx, Giuseppe Mazzini, Louis Kossuth and Peter Kropotkin. Growing awareness of the cross-border dimensions of media history has led to a recent call to reframe predominantly national histories of media and communication in a transnational perspective.

    Constance Bantman (2021)"A Very Serious Person"(1) Jean Grave and the Paradoxes of Anarchist Charisma, In: Memoria e ricerca : rivista di storia contemporanea67(2)pp. 279-294 Soc Editrice Il Mulino

    This article explores the contradictory nature of anarchist celebrity and influence, through the example of the French editor, writer and campaigner Jean Grave (1854-1939). It focuses on the tension between Grave's personality and his remarkable ability to form and sustain very effective networks to support his propaganda, across a wide geographical area but also across different political and cultural spheres. Grave elicited fervour among his many friends, or indeed admirers; and yet, at the same time, was famously dour, prone to dry theorising, shy and adamant on doctrinal rectitude. How can both aspects be reconciled? Is it possible to see a causal link between Grave's sternness and, on the other hand, the attraction he exerted? And how might this inform our understanding of anarchist leadership, when existing studies have tended to emphasise its charismatic elements, or at least performance component?

    Constance Bantman (2017)Jean Grave and French Anarchism: A Relational Approach (1870s-1914), In: International Review of Social History62(3)pp. 451-477 Cambridge University Press

    This article proposes a biographical approach to the study of anarchist activism, applied to the French journalist, editor, theorist, novelist, educator, and campaigner Jean Grave, one of the most influential figures in the French and international anarchist movement between the late 1870s and the First World War. Adopting a relational approach delineating Grave’s formal and informal connections, it focuses on the role of print in Grave’s activism, through the three papers he edited between 1883 and 1914, and highlights his transnational connections and links with progressive circles in France. Due to the central place of both Grave and his publications in the French anarchist movement, this biographical and relational approach provides a basis to reassess the functioning and key strategic orientations of French anarchist communism during its “heroic period” (1870s-1914), by stressing its transnational ramifications and links beyond the anarchist movement.

    Constance Bantman (2017)Louise Michel's London years: a political reassessment (1890-1905), In: Women's History Review26(6)pp. 994-1012 Taylor & Francis

    This article proposes a political reassessment of the long period of time spent in London by the French Communard-turned-anarchist Louise Michel (1890-1905). It emphasises the breadth of her militant repertoire as well as her very concrete engagement in specific political projects, and highlights the coherence of her political outlook and activities. This perspective challenges predominantly masculinist portrayals of Michel, which focus heavily on sentiment as an explanation for her political activism, and downplay her overall agency as a militant. It also highlights the limitations of methodological nationalism in analysing Michel’s activities in exile. Four key aspects are examined: Michel’s print and open-air propaganda; her network-building activities; her contribution to libertarian pedagogies through the ‘International socialist school’ which she set up in Fitzrovia in the early 1890s; and her campaigning activities for the defence of the right of asylum and support for political refugees, at a time when liberal understandings of asylum were being questioned.

    Constance Bantman (2009)The Militant Go-between: Emile Pouget's Transnational Propaganda (1880-1914), In: Labour History Review74(3)pp. 274-287 Liverpool University Press

    This article is a study of the transnational activism of the French anarchist militant Emile Pouget (1860–1931), from his early days in the 1880s as an agitator and as the editor of the scathing anarchist weekly Père Peinard, through to his key role in the spread of revolutionary syndicalism in France and beyond. Against dominant representations focusing on his substantial journalistic and organizational propaganda exclusively within national boundaries, it suggests that Pouget did start off as a locally-minded militant in the 1880s, but later became aware of the great importance of international organization. This contribution depicts Pouget’s year of exile in Britain (1894–1895) as the turning point leading to a greater international emphasis in his activism. Through Pouget, the usually unheeded transnational ramifi cations of belle-époque anarchism and syndicalism are highlighted, as well as the relevance of militant biography for the study of transnational networks and ideological dissemination.

    Constance Bantman (2006)'Internationalism without an International? Cross-Channel Anarchist Networks, 1880-1914', In: Revue Belge de Philologie et d'Histoire84(4)pp. 961-981 Persee
    Constance Bantman (2010)Review of Paul Knepper, The Invention of International Crime: A Global Issue in the Making 1881-1914, In: Theoretical Criminology: an international journal14(4)pp. 540-542 Sage Publications Ltd
    Constance Bantman (2014)The Franco-British Syndicalist Connection and the Great Labour Unrest 1880s-1914, In: Labour History Review79(1)pp. 83-96 Liverpool University Press

    This chapter explores the transfers between French and British trade unionism between 1880 and 1914, and the transnational elaboration of syndicalism in this period. The role of press exchanges and informal personal networks of influential militants is emphasized, as is the fact that influences between French and British militants travelled both ways - not simply from France to Great Britain, as is often assumed. Discourses on these cross-influences by contemporaries are also examined, in order to show that the transnational dimension of syndicalism was perceived and discussed at the time, often in terms of national character. The notable differences between these two brands of syndicalism are also examined, especially regarding the role of the state and the place of antimilitarism.

    Constance Bantman (2013)Review of Timothy Messer-Kruse, The Haymarket Conspiracy. Transatlantic Anarchist Networks, In: International Review of Social History58(1)pp. 131-134 Cambridge University Press
    Constance Bantman (2010)The Recent Historiography of French Anarchism: Terrorists, Networks, Transnationalism, and a Few Polemics, In: Modern & Contemporary France18(3)pp. 383-389 Routledge, Taylor & Francis

    This article reviews three recent books on the history of the late nineteenth-century French anarchist movement—one by the French historian Vivien Bouhey and the other two by American scholars, Alexander McKinley and John Merriman. It replaces these works in the context of a renewed interest in the study of the anarchist movement, as an early example of transnational terrorist organisation, and as a relevant field of application for the historiographic concepts of network and transnationalism. In conclusion, it highlights the differences between French and US approaches to the study of anarchism, and evidences the limits of the ‘transnational turn’ in this particular historical field.

    Constance Bantman (2012)Review of Karine Salomé, L'Ouragan Homicide. L'Attentat politique en France au XIXe siècle, In: Revue d'histoire du XIXe siecle(44)pp. 198-200 Société d'histoire de 1848 et de la Rh19
    Constance Bantman, B Altena (2015)Reassessing the Transnational Turn: Scales of Analysis in Anarchist and Syndicalist Studies Routledge, Taylor & Francis

    This edited volume reassesses the ongoing transnational turn in anarchist and syndicalist studies, a field where the interest in cross-border connections has generated much innovative literature in the last decade. It presents and extends up-to-date research into several dynamic historiographic fields, and especially the history of the anarchist and syndicalist movements and the notions of transnational militancy and informal political networks. Whilst restating the relevance of transnational approaches, especially in connection with the concepts of personal networks and mediators, the book underlines the importance of other scales of analysis in capturing the complexities of anarchist militancy, due to both their centrality as a theme of reflection for militants, and their role as a level of organization. Especially crucial is the national level, which is often overlooked due to the internationalism which was so central to anarchist ideology. And yet, as several chapters highlight, anarchist discourses on the nation (as opposed to the state), patriotism and even race, were more nuanced than is usually assumed. The local and individual levels are also shown to be essential in anarchist militancy.

    D Berry, Constance Bantman (2010)New Perspectives on Anarchism, Labour and Syndicalism Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

    This collection presents exciting new research on the history of anarchist movements and their relation to organised labour, notably revolutionary syndicalism. Bringing together internationally acknowledged authorities as well as younger researchers, all specialists in their field, it ranges across Europe and from the late nineteenth century to the beginnings of the Cold War. National histories are revisited through transnational perspectives—on Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Poland or Europe as a whole—evidencing a great wealth of cross-border interactions and reciprocal influences between regions and countries. Emphasis is also placed on individual activist itineraries—whether of renowned figures such as Errico Malatesta or of lesser-known yet equally fascinating characters, whose trajectories offer fresh perspectives on the complex interplay of regional and national political cultures, evolving political ideologies, activist networks and the individual. The volume will be of interest to specialists working on the history of anarchism and/or trade unionism as well as the political or social history of the countries concerned; but it will also be useful to students and the general reader looking for discussion of the most recent thinking on the historiography of labour and anarchist movements or those wanting a comprehensive overview of the history of syndicalism.

    Constance Bantman (2019)Syndicalism and Art in France before 1914: Propaganda and Prefiguration, In: Anarchism and the Avant-Garde. Radical Arts and Politics in Perspective(38) Brill

    While the multifaceted interplay of anarchism with art, as well as the visual and literary culture of Belle Époque anarchism have been researched extensively, the relationship between syndicalism and creative arts remains largely unexplored. This chapter traces the mobilisation of arts in the context of pre-1914 French syndicalism, as a propagandist device as well as a prefigurative practice. It argues that art remained integral to the discourse and propaganda of the French syndicalists: access to art was also pivotal to the syndicalist vision and the educational project which lay at its core, as visible in particular in the importance attached to education by French syndicalists, and the place of arts within it. As in the anarchist period, these practices and concerns had transnational ramifications, and a similar interest in art may be observed in other countries. However, the relationship between art and syndicalism was both less symbiotic and more inclusive than in 1890s anarchism, in terms of ideals, propaganda and militant personnel. This difference was important in distinguishing both movements on a variety of levels: the lesser centrality of art to syndicalism partly accounted for its perception as being institutional and narrowly “workerist”. However, syndicalism deployed a broader and less elitist cultural strategy to convey its political message and strategies – thus acting out and shaping a different understanding of political and artistic vanguardism.

    Constance Bantman (2013)''Almost the only free city in the world': mapping out the French anarchist presence in London, late 1870s-1914', In: D Kelly, M Cornick (eds.), A History of the French in London. Liberty, equality, opportunity.(8)pp. 193-215 Institute of Historical Research, University of London

    This chapter charts four decades of anarchist presence in London through the prisms of space and perception. Through its rich history of exile, London had by the end of the nineteenth century become a connotated space, a palimpsest. The most literate and educated anarchist exiles were certainly conscious of walking in the footsteps of illustrious refugees, as evidenced by regular references to the generations of revolutionaries who had preceded them in London. These nodded primarily to the post-1848 waves, as journalists noted for instance that the anarchists congregated in one of the rooms of St Martin’s Hall, where the International Working Men’s Association had been set up in 1864, or inscribed themselves in the Communards’ lineage: ‘One street in the French quarter has conquered fame: it is Charlotte Street and, on this road, one house deserves the honours of history: it is that of Victor Richard, the faithful friend of Vallès and Séverine’. This historical perspective also informed the eyes of beholders, although they were more likely to stress the different character of the anarchists, and especially the discontinuity with the previous, morally noble generations of exiles and the peak of French presence in London: How many French [in London]? A lot less than one may think. One should not assume that the streets of Soho and Fitzroy have regained since the recent explosions the very special character which they had after the Commune. A few rare French shop-fronts among the shop-fronts, a few vaguely familiar figures in Charlott-Street [sic] and in Wind-mill-Street [sic] and that’s it. The importance of this historical lineage means that the London years of the French anarchists can be read both in continuity and in contrast with the preceding waves of revolutionary exile, including from the point of view of outside observers who constantly compared the anarchists with their illustrious predecessors. Their growing hostility and the polemics provoked by the anarchists’ presence – suspected as well as seen – turned London into a contested space. The novelty which this presence represented must also be stressed, in order to convey the sense of puzzlement expressed by contemporaries – and by the exiles themselves – upon seeing or even just imagining these hundreds of individuals recreating an anarchist ‘Petite France’ in the streets of Soho and Fitzrovia. Their dismay stemmed from the fear of anarchist terrorism, because of the well-established reputation of the French as dynamitards or bombistes, but also from a culture shock, as these comrades were often described as quintessentially French artisans, settling down in London in the heyday of the Victorian Age; the written testimonies left by the French in London as well as by the British observers of these groups testify to the same impression of strangeness and otherness, often conveyed by a close attention to details revealing cultural differences and idiosyncrasies. This chapter emphasises the physicality of this anarchist presence by examining different scales in turn, from the international level – why, of all places, did the anarchists settle in Britain? – to the very local, investigating anarchist public and private spaces.

    Constance Bantman (2013)Review of Christophe Charle and Julien Vincent, La Société Civile. Savoirs, enjeux et acteurs en France et en Grande-Bretagne, 1780-1914, In: Revue d'histoire du XIXe siecle(45)pp. 222-223 Société d'histoire de 1848 et de la Rh19
    Constance Bantman (2010)From Trade Unionism to Syndicalisme Révolutionnaire to Syndicalism: The British Origins of French Syndicalism, In: D Berry, C Bantman (eds.), New Perspectives on Anarchism, Labour and Syndicalism. The Individual, the National and the Transnational(7)pp. 126-140 Cambridge Scholars Publishing

    The French and British trade union organisations of the 1880-1914 period are usually presented as antagonistic, British trade unionism being financially powerful and predominantly conservative, connected in turn with the Liberal Party and the Labour Party set up in 1893, while French unions were numerically weak, fiercely independent from political power, and preached revolutionary methods. This opposition is epitomised by the contrast between the powerful and conservative Trade Union Congress and, on the other hand, the CGT, the French trade union confederation set up in 1895, with its adamant rejection of political alliances formalised by the iconic 1906 Charte d’Amiens. These oppositions are often taken to reflect profound differences in the political orientations of skilled workers (with the contrast between France’s radical artisans and Britain’s labour aristocracy), and in the maturity of industrial development (between France’s decentralised and workshop-based production system and Britain’s more advanced industrialisation). In spite of these partly debatable alleged ideological and socioeconomic differences, the years between 1880 and 1914 saw an intense exchange of ideas and tactics between France and Britain, as trade union organisation and ideology underwent rapid changes on both sides of the Channel. The British organisations evolved from the reformist and elitist culture of the mid-Victorian social consensus into larger, more democratic and combative “new unions”.1 In France, the trade union movement remained very weak during the 1880s, until the development of the CGT and its formal rejection from parliamentary politics at the turn of the century, triumphant at first, then increasingly problematic.2 In both countries, these years witnessed a succession of periods of strength and decline, in ideological and numerical terms. For these two rapidly-changing movements, developments occurring across the Channel provided both an example and a counter-example through which they could define and reinvent themselves. This chapter maps out these ideological transfers within the revolutionary branch of the international labour movement, insisting on the personal networks underpinning these exchanges and on the processes of reinterpretation and adaptation such cross-influences required. It focuses on the “ideological” level, rather than the grassroots and organisational levels3: it is a study in transnational exchanges of ideas and debates, which leaves aside the question of the actual impact of these ideas on their intended audiences, the workers.

    C Bantman (2013)Making Sense of Anarchism. Errico Malatesta's Experiments with Revolution, 1889-1900, In: INTERNATIONAL REVIEW OF SOCIAL HISTORY58(3)pp. 523-525 CAMBRIDGE UNIV PRESS
    C Bantman, D Berry (2016)'The French Anarchists and the War: from Antimilitarism to Union Sacree', In: M Adams, R Kinna (eds.), Anarchism, 1914-18: Antimilitarism,. militarism and war Manchester University Press
    C Bantman, A David-Guillou (2012)'Les études interculturelles franco-britanniques: définitions et exemples', In: Revue Francaise de Civilisation Britannique17(3)pp. 59-76 Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle
    C Bantman (2014)Anarchists, Authorities and the Battle for Public Space, 1880–1914: Recasting Political Protest as Anti-social Behaviour, In: Anti-Social Behaviour in Britain. Victorian and Contemporary Perspectives Palgrave Macmillan

    In the late Victorian and Edwardian periods, and especially in the 1890s, anarchists were a small but highly publicised dissident group in many British cities, and especially in London. The identification of the anarchist movement as one of the most striking instances of deviancy by public opinion makes it a relevant case study of non-normative behaviour and its treatment by authorities. This contribution briefly presents the political and economic context from which the anarchist movement emerged, and the modalities of antisocial behaviour with which anarchists came to be associated in public opinion, as expressed in the conservative and tabloid press, parliamentary debates as well as influential theoretical works. Two key aspects emerge from the anarchist example. The first one is the link between immigration, political radicalism and perceived deviancy. Secondly, how the control of public space – especially the street and high-profile meeting places such as Hyde Park and Trafalgar square – became a stake in the battle between the state and anarchists, which hinged on issues of law and order, public visibility and political legitimacy. This must be understood in a context of growing labour militancy, which blurred the boundaries between social unrest and crime in public minds.

    C Bantman (2009)'Visionaries or Reactionaries? British Anarchism and Modernity'., In: Arts, Politics and Society in Britain (1880-1914). Aspects of Modernity and Modernism.pp. 89-105 Cambridge Scholars Publishing
    T Jones, C Bantman (2016)'From Republicanism to Anarchism: 50 years of French exilic publishing', In: C Bantman, A Suriani da Silva (eds.), The Foreign Political Press in London, 1815-1914. Politics from a Distance. Bloomsbury
    C Bantman (2016)'Terrorism and its Policing: Anarchists and the Era of Propaganda by the Deed (1870s-1914)', In: Oxford Handbook of the History of Crime and Criminal Justice
    CONSTANCE BANTMAN (2021)Anarchist transnationalism, In: Cambridge History of Socialism Cambridge University Press

    This book is a study of political exile and transnational activism in the late-Victorian period. It explores the history of about 500 French-speaking anarchists who lived in exile in London between 1880 and 1914, with a close focus on the 1890s, when their presence peaked. These individuals sought to escape intense repression in France, at a time when anarchist-inspired terrorism swept over the Western world. Until the 1905 Aliens Act, Britain was the exception in maintaining a liberal approach to the containment of anarchism and terrorism; it was therefore the choice destination of international exiled anarchists, just as it had been for previous generations of revolutionary exiles throughout the nineteenth century. These French groups in London played a strategic role in the reinvention of anarchism at a time of crisis, but also triggered intense moral panic in France, Britain and beyond. This study retraces the lives of these largely unknown individuals – how they struggled to get by in the great late-Victorian metropolis, their social and political interactions among themselves, with other exiled groups and their host society. The myths surrounding their rumoured terrorist activities are examined, as well as the constant overt and covert surveillance which French and British intelligence services kept over them. The debates surrounding the controversial asylum granted to international anarchists, and especially the French, are presented, showing their role in the redefinition of British liberalism. The political legacy of these ‘London years’ is also analysed, since exile contributed to the formation of small but efficient transnational networks, which were pivotal to the development and international dissemination of syndicalism and, less successfully, to anti-war propaganda in the run up to 1914.

    Constance Bantman (2009)Review of John MERRIMAN, The Dynamite Club. How a Bombing in Fin-de-Siècle Paris Ignited the Age of Modern Terror., In: Revue d'Histoire du XIXe Siecle39pp. 178-178 Société d'histoire de 1848 et de la Rh19

    In a period of turmoil when European and international politics were in constant reshaping, immigrants and political exiles living in London set up periodicals which contributed actively to national and international political debates. Reflecting an interdisciplinary and international discussion, this book offers a rare long-term specialist perspective into the cosmopolitan and multilingual world of the foreign political press in London, with an emphasis on periodicals published in European languages. It furthers current research into political exile, the role of print culture and personal networks as intercultural agents and the dynamics of transnational political and cultural exchange in global capitals. Individual chapters deal with Brazilian, French, German, Indian, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Spanish American, and Russian periodicals. Overarching themes include a historical survey of foreign political groups present in London throughout the long 19th century and the causes and movements they championed; analyses of the press in local and transnational contexts; and a focus on its actors and on the material conditions in which this press was created and disseminated.