Chenut, Helen Harden 1939–

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Chenut, Helen Harden 1939–

(Helen Chenut)


Born August 2, 1939. Education: University of Paris, Ph.D., 1988.


Office—Department of History, University of California, Irvine, 200 Murray Krieger Hall, Irvine, CA 92697-3275. E-mail—[email protected].


University of California, Irvine, currently lecturer in history. University of Melbourne, visiting scholar at Trinity College.


Society for French Historical Studies (member of William Koren, Jr., Prize committee), Western Society for French History (council member).


Personnel grant, UNESCO, 1969-70; research grant, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1985-87; American Council of Learned Societies fellow, 1993-94.


The Fabric of Gender: Working-Class Culture in Third Republic France, Pennsylvania State University Press (University Park, PA), 2005.

(Translator and author of introduction) Fadela Amara and Sylvia Zappi, Breaking the Silence: French Women's Voices from the Ghetto, University of California Press (Berkeley, CA), 2006.

Contributor to books, including Gender and Class in Modern Europe, edited by Laura Frader and Sonya Rose, Cornell University Press, 1996; L'histoire sans les femmes est-elle possible?, Editions Perrin, 1998; and The Human Tradition in Modern Europe, edited by Cheryl Koos and Cora Granata, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2008. Contributor to periodicals, including La Vie en Champagne and Material History Bulletin.


Helen Harden Chenut devoted more than twenty years to research that culminated in her first book, The Fabric of Gender: Working-Class Culture in Third Republic France. It is a thematically organized study of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century French textile industry in Troyes that draws on a wide variety of sources, including government archives, union records, oral history, advertisements, songs, postcards, and photographs. "The resulting portrait of working-class culture and industrial life," stated Mona L. Siegel in the Historian, "is as richly woven as the goods produced by the workers under consideration." Writing for the Journal of Social History, Ellen Furlough described it as an "elegantly written" and "splendid book" and remarked upon its "fresh insights" and clear organization. Several critics highlighted Chenut's meticulous research and deemed her attention to gender issues and the role of consumption some of her most valuable contributions. Judith DeGroat in H-France Review summed up TheFabric of Gender as "a remarkable case study" that "illuminates French history beyond the boundaries of the textile industry of Troyes in the Third Republic to do what the best historical studies do: deepen our understanding of the past so that we can make sense of the present."



American Historical Review, December, 2005, Elinor Accampo, review of The Fabric of Gender: Working-Class Culture in Third Republic France, p. 1603.

Choice, October, 2005, N. Greene, review of The Fabric of Gender, p. 360.

French Studies, April, 2008, review of The Fabric of Gender, p. 394.

Historian, winter, 2006, Mona L. Siegel, review of The Fabric of Gender, p. 864.

Journal of Gender Studies, November, 2006, Marie Cross, review of The Fabric of Gender, p. 290.

Journal of Social History, summer, 2007, Ellen Furlough, review of The Fabric of Gender, p. 1051.

Nineteenth-Century French Studies, spring-summer, 2006, Margot Irvine, review of The Fabric of Gender, p. 413.


H-France Review, (August, 2006), Judith DeGroat, review of The Fabric of Gender.

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online, (February, 2008), Lela Felter-Kerley, "Working-Class (Sexual) Politics in France's Third Republic," review of The Fabric of Gender.