Heuer, Jennifer Ngaire 1969–

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Heuer, Jennifer Ngaire 1969–

(Jennifer N. Heuer)


Born May 27, 1969. Education: University of Chicago, Ph.D., 1998.


Office—University of Massachusetts Amherst, 300 Massachusetts Ave., Amherst, MA 01003. E-mail—[email protected].


Middlebury College, Middlebury, VT, assistant professor; University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, assistant professor.


Recipient of fellowships and grants from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the American Philosophical Society, the American Historical Association, the C.V. Starr Foundation/ Middlebury School in Paris, France, and Five College Women's Studies Research Center; research grant, National Endowment for the Humanities, 2005.


The Family and the Nation: Gender and Citizenship in Revolutionary France, 1789-1830, Cornell University Press (Ithaca, NY), 2005.


Born May 27, 1969, Jennifer Ngaire Heuer earned a Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago in 1998. She taught college history courses at Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont, and at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Her special interests are in the history of France and Europe and the evolution of gender and family issues.

In Law and History Review, Alyssa Goldstein called Heuer's first book, The Family and the Nation: Gender and Citizenship in Revolutionary France, 1789-1830, "a major contribution to scholarship." Certain rights and responsibilities were associated with being a French citizen, with one's status within the family, and with one's gender—the latter an issue that Heuer concludes has been neglected in scholarly works. Heuer contends that it is necessary to look at nationality, family relationship, and gender together to understand how they interacted in law and culture and to determine how these evolved over time. In her book Heuer explores French civil law during the period surrounding the Revolution and examines its inherent contradictions and its influence upon France and other nations.

After the French Revolution, with the king gone, citizens were encouraged to replace their loyalty to him with loyalty to the nation, independently and voluntarily. Before the Revolution, women were subject to the decisions of their husband or fathers. Afterward, however briefly, they had full rights as citizens and were expected by the state to make their own decisions rather than simply to follow their husbands. When Napoleon took control of the state, this independent status was revoked, and women again assumed the status of minors, the excuse being that they could not bear arms. As regimes changed, citizenship laws became more complicated and contradictory in response to the confusions caused by immigration and international marriages. The courts and lawmakers had difficulty in coming to terms with the issues raised, as is shown by the records and case studies Heuer uses as examples. Each time an administration changed, laws regarding nationality and family became further confused as new regimes tried to alter, repeal, or add to the already existing complex and contradictory laws. Heuer looks at how these confusions and complexities affected women in terms of citizenship, divorce, inheritance, and immigration, and how French women's citizenship status was affected well into the twentieth century.

Critics were enthusiastic about The Family and the Nation, showing admiration for Heuer's scholarship and writing style and declaring it an important resource. Shirley A. Roessler in the Historian commented that Heuer showed a "lucid and well-balanced picture" of the times and commended her research and her writing: "The author has presented a concise and logical discussion of her topic with efficient use of a wide variety of reputable sources…. Heuer's work is thoroughly researched, scholarly, and well written. It constitutes a valuable contribution to historical debate." Goldstein said in her review: "Heuer's book is fascinating, and the author has a talent for finding interesting stories in the archives that bring abstract legal issues to life." She wrote that it "is likely to be of major interest not only to scholars of the French Revolution, but also to those who study nationality, gender, comparative legal history, and modern political theory." Masha Belenky had similar praise in her review for Nineteenth-Century French Studies. Declaring that the book "fills a notable gap in both the history of the revolutionary period and in French women's history," Belenky called it "a great resource for scholars and students of women's history, historians of the revolutionary period, and those interested in the history of family and marriage in post-revolutionary France." Praise also came from Eric Arnold in his critique for History: Review of New Books: "Heuer has produced here a book of real merit and value for gender studies and women's history…. All academic libraries and historians … should own a copy of this important book."



American Historical Review, April 1, 2006, Margaret H. Darrow, review of The Family and the Nation: Gender and Citizenship in Revolutionary France, 1789-1830, p. 570.

Canadian Journal of History, March 22, 2007, Stephen Miller, review of The Family and the Nation.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, May 1, 2006, L.A. Rollo, review of The Family and the Nation, p. 1669.

Historian, March 22, 2008, Shirley A. Roessler, review of The Family and the Nation, p. 160.

History: Review of New Books, September 22, 2005, Eric Arnold, review of The Family and the Nation, p. 22.

Journal of Interdisciplinary History, January 1, 2007, Katherine A. Lynch, review of The Family and the Nation, p. 451.

Law and History Review, March 22, 2007, Alyssa Goldstein Sepinwall, review of The Family and the Nation, pp. 225-227.

Nineteenth-Century French Studies, January 1, 2007, Masha Belenky, review of The Family and the Nation, p. 467.

Times Literary Supplement, September 23, 2005, Nicholas White, review of The Family and the Nation, p. 30.


University of Massachusetts Amherst Web site,http://www.umass.edu/ (June 6, 2008), profile of author.