Robin, Marie

Field: Modern Europe; Advisor: Saada and Nguyen; Year: 2020

Marie Robin (she/her/hers) is a doctoral candidate in the history department, where she studies gender, race, sexuality, and military culture in the 20th-century French Empire. Her doctoral dissertation explores the French Army’s sexual regulation policies during the wars for independence in Vietnam (1946-54) and Algeria (1954-62). Using a trans-colonial lens and multilingual framework, the dissertation centers its analysis on the French system of military prostitution known as Bordel Militaire de Campagne (BMC), institutionalized by the French government for its troops during the recolonization wars and sustained by the sexual labor of Asian and Maghrebi women and girls.

While simultaneously reconstructing the everyday lives of women, colonial and metropolitan servicemen involved with the BMC institution, the dissertation examines the strategic importance of implementing mobile field brothels in monitoring and regulating the sexuality and behaviors of its troops, encompassing a diverse array of objectives. The dissertation is particularly interested in the paradoxical duality of violence, such as the intricate dynamics between unregulated and regulated forms of sexual violence and its impact on the broader political and social landscape of decolonization.


Marie’s research has been supported by the Georges Lurcy International Travel Fellowship, the Society for French Historical Studies (Farrar Memorial Award), the Journal of Women’s History (Jean Quataert Dissertation Travel Grant), the Alliance Doctoral Mobility Grant and the Weatherhead East Asian Institute (Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund Grant). Before coming to Columbia, Marie received her BA in History and Middle-Eastern Studies from the American University of Paris (2017) and her MA in History from Durham University (2018). She writes public-facing history for the Synapsis: A Health Humanities Journal on military prostitution and has translated chapters of the forthcoming Cambridge History of the Vietnam War, vol. 1 & 3.