This book—the first long-term study of educational travel between France and the United States—suggests that, by studying abroad, ordinary people are constructively involved in international relations. Author Whitney Walton analyzes study abroad from the perspectives of the students, schools, governments, and NGOs involved and charts its changing purpose and meaning throughout the twentieth century. She shows how students' preconceptions of themselves, their culture, and the other nationality—particularly differences in gender roles—shaped their experiences and were transformed during their time abroad.
This book presents Franco-American relations in the twentieth century as a complex mixture of mutual fascination, apprehension, and appreciation—an alternative narrative to the common framework of Americanization and anti-Americanism. It offers a new definition of internationalism as a process of questioning stereotypes, reassessing national identities, and acquiring a tolerance for and appreciation of difference.
About the author
Whitney Walton is Professor of History at Purdue University. She is the author of Eve's Proud Descendants: Four Women Writers and Republican Politics in Nineteenth-Century France (2000) and France at the Crystal Palace: Bourgeois Taste and Artisan Manufacture in the Nineteenth Century (1992).
"Whitney Walton's fascinating Internationalism, National Identities, and Study Abroad points to enduring themes in the motivations and impact of studying abroad; students might go abroad for professional development or simply to see the world, but in the process they confront their preconceived notions of both foreigners and their own country . . . Walton's work points not just to changes, but to many of the enduring realities of the experience of studying abroad."
—Christopher Fischer, Canadian Journal of History
"Internationalism, National Identities, and Study Abroad. France and the United States, 1890–1970 is a welcome study of cultural relations and educational ties between France and the United States and wisely avoids a too exclusive focus on Americanization and the cultural reactions this provoked. This study is of interest to scholars and research students of the history of national identity, gender, higher education and the transnational transfer of ideas."
—Pieter François, French History
"Whitney Walton's account of educational and cultural exchanges between the United States and France is a welcome contribution to a relatively little-studies component of higher education internationalization: international student mobility. A slim, well-organized, and well-written volume, the book offers a densely packed history of student involvement in Franco-American cultural and education interchanges, as well as the governmental, private, educational, and international events that shaped the exchanges."
—John M. Keller, Comparative Education Review
"This book is based on extensive research, thoughtfully interpreted. What makes it especially innovative is Walton's use of the letters and diaries of the students who went abroad, found in archives on both sides of the Atlantic. She effectively brings together diplomatic and cultural history, with special attention to gender relations, in the tradition of the best work in the field."
—Janet Polasky, University of New Hampshire