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Benoit Vaillot is researcher at the University of Strasbourg (ARCHE UR 3400) and at the Centre Marc Bloch (Berlin). He has a degree in modern history (University of Lyon), and in political science (Sciences Po Lyon). PhD in history from the European University Institute, he is the author of a thesis which proposes a transnational and from below history of the border drawn between France and the German Empire at the end of the Franco-German War of 1870 and disappeared with the first fighting of the First World War (to be published in September 2023). Rarely has a border attracted so much attention and illustrated so well its function as a point of balance between two antagonistic powers in the era of nation states (

His research is firmly rooted in a social and political history of the construction of sovereignties and national identities in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries, adopting a transnational and bottom-up approach centred on ordinary and intermediate actors. Borders and borderlands are privileged observation points for these major historical phenomena. Practices through which populations mobilize and actualize their sense of national belonging (everyday nationhood) and their active participation, in a direct or indirect way, in the construction and reinforcement of sovereignty that interest him. Borders as spaces of production of ecological differentiation also hold his attention, and were the subject of a postdoctoral research in environmental history ( at Framespa UMR 5136 (University of Toulouse – Jean Jaurès). He is currently conducting research aimed at proposing a global history of air sovereignty in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Benoit Vaillot taught history-geography in secondary schools from 2014 to 2016, and modern history at the University of Lyon from 2013 to 2016, and at the University of Paris Nanterre from 2022 to 2023. Since 2018, he is offering online resources for 19th and 20th centuries German palaeography in German, French and English.

Research topics:
  • Construction of sovereignty
  • Nationalism(s), nationality(ies), nation(s)
  • Identification(s) and collective identity(ies)
  • Borders and borderlands
  • Economic, trade and customs policies
  • International relations 19th-20th centuries
  • France 19th-20th centuries
  • Germanic spaces 19th-20th centuries
  • Memory(ies) of war(s)
  • History of the environment
  • Civil and military aeronautics 19th-20th centuries
  • Odonymy and public statuary