Current Institutional Affiliation
Visiting Professor, College of Arts & Sciences, University of North Florida

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 1999
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
History, Emory University
Enclosing the Commons: Property Rights and Agrarian Modernization in Early Modern Burgundy, 1600-1789

This dissertation will trace the emergence and implementation of private property rights (“enclosure” rights) within the medieval agrarian structures of seventeenth and eighteenth-century Burgundy. Drawing from a wide body of judicial, administrative, and family documents, it will demonstrate that historians of rural France have underestimated the capacity of this traditional rural society to conform processes commonly associated with “modernization” more closely to pre-existing class structures, agrarian regimes and customs, and cultural conceptions of property. This surprising degree of compatibility between traditional agrarian customs and routines and distinctly “modern” forms of property rights raises additional concerns about historical models drawn from modernization theory and structural history. While recognizing the enormous contributions of these modes of analysis to studies of French rural history, this study proposes to apply a concept of “structure” as flexible and, consequently, to account for the capacity of traditional societies to make modernization serve traditional ends.