Suzanne Kaufman (Wesleyan University, B. A. ’87; Rutgers University, Ph.D. ’96) is associate professor of European history at Loyola University. She teaches the second half of Loyola’s core course in western civilization as well as courses on modern France, women’s and gender history and the history of European colonialism and empire building. She has longstanding interests in social theory and historical method and teaches the required historical methods courses for undergraduate and graduate students in history. She was the graduate program director for the history department from 2007-2011. Before coming to Loyola, she taught at Miami University and Georgia State University. Professor Kaufman has been recognized for teaching excellence and was a recipient of a Master Teacher Award in the College of Arts and Sciences in both 2015 and 2016.
Professor Kaufman’s scholarship focuses on the social and cultural history of modern France. She’s particularly interested in the intersection of culture and politics in the lived experiences of ordinary people. Her first book, Consuming Visions: Mass Culture and the Lourdes Shrine (Cornell University Press, 2005), argues that Lourdes, a nineteenth-century Catholic pilgrimage shrine in rural France, became a crucial site for the emergence of a modern culture of consumption. The study examines how the melding of Catholic devotional practices with an emerging commercial culture produced new and exciting expressions of popular religiosity while also generating distinctly modern concerns over the proper relationship between faith and commerce. By challenging the tendency of scholars to denigrate commercialized religion as “debasement,” the book also explores the hidden judgments embodied in the sacred/profane dichotomy.
Professor Kaufman’s new book project extends her interest in politics and culture to France’s colonial history by examining the French Foreign Legion in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Professor Kaufman is especially interested in the everyday life of military service for legionnaires in an effort to understand how these foreign mercenaries (often considered the dregs of European society) took on the role of surrogate Frenchmen abroad – celebrated representatives of France’s civilizing mission as well as violent participants in campaigns to secure and police an overseas empire.
Professor Kaufman’s work has been funded by fellowships and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She was also the recipient of a Bourse Chateaubriand from the French government.
Modern European Social and Cultural History, Modern France, History of Religion and popular Culture, Gender/Women's History, European Colonialism/Empire-Building, Ethnicity and Masculinity in the French Foreign Legion.
History 293: Women's Sphere in Past Societies (WOST 256)
History 441: Women's and Gender History: Europe
History 491: Modern Europe, 1789-1870
Honors 216 A: Encountering Europe: Colonialism, Decolonization and European Empires
“Incident at Sousse: African Soldiers, Foreign Legionnaires and the Paradox of Colonial Policing in 1930s Tunisia,”(in progress)
“Les Miraculées de Lourdes: Sacred Celebrities in the Age of Mass Spectacle,” Journal of Religious History vol. 42, no. 4 Special Issue on Catholic Celebrities (December 2018): 517-544. (Awarded 2019 Mansfield Prize, by the Religious History Association, for best article published in the Journal of Religious History in 2018).
“Religion and Modernity: The Case of the Lourdes Shrine in Nineteenth-Century France,” in Disciplining Modernism, ed. Pamela Caughie (London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
“Our Lady of Lourdes: Faith and Commerce at a Marian Shrine,” Concilium: International Review of Theology, vol. 44, no. 4 (2008): 148-160. (Printed simultaneously in English, French, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese).
Consuming Visions: Mass Culture and the Lourdes Shrine (Cornell University Press, 2005).
"Selling Lourdes: Pilgrimage, Tourism, and the Mass-Marketing of the Sacred in Nineteenth-Century France," in Being Elsewhere: Tourism, Consumer Culture and Identity in Modern Europe and North America, eds., Shelley Baranowski and Ellen Furlough (University of Michigan Press, 2001).
"Navigating Place and Community in the History of Popular Religion," Review Essay, Journal of Urban History (January, 2001).